Ed, my neighbor next door, describes Christmas as his gear down time and New Year’s Eve a full speed forward time. Having applied the brakes to Christmas spending, Ed takes great satisfaction in his annual New Year’s Eve party. It is his time to shine, as friends and relatives come to hear Ed’s predictions for another coming New Year. The fact that Ruby puts out a delicious banquet of excellent food also ensures the good yearly attendance.
Here are a few of Ed’s forecasts for 2012: it will be the year of Canadian bankers straightening out the bankers of Europe. After a year, our bankers will have the people in the European Union in the same boat as us – everybody another day older and deeper in debt for endless years to come. Ed says that the weather in 2012 is to be a slight bit unusual with very little snow in January, February and March. Then there will be a dry cool April, May and June. July and August will be record breaking hot, September and October too wet, and November and December bone chilling cold. I sort of thought anyone could have predicted Ed’s 2012 weather forecast.
Ed doesn’t consult a crystal ball for his predictions. They come to him from some secret signs that he won’t share. Ed’s personal prediction for me in 2012 could go two ways – either I’m going to get canned at Walmart or promoted to greeter at a Walmart in Yellowknife, NWT. On the positive side of things, I have never been to the Northwest Territories. Ed’s final prediction for me was that preaching at churches is going to disappear in 2012. It will be replaced by a click on a person’s cell phone that will play whatever religious message you record on it. No more sitting through sermons you don’t like or messages you don’t want to hear. Your cell phone will tell you exactly what you want to hear.
Many people are like Ed; they believe even God should tell them what they want to hear. True preachers preach God’s word in season and out of season. They are charged by God to correct, rebuke, and encourage with patience and careful instruction. They are at all times to speak the truth in love. Many people believe it is the loving thing to do – tell people what they want to hear. It will make the preacher popular. The Bible warns, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” It is the loving thing to do, to tell the truth that we are sinners who are redeemed by Christ’s atoning sacrifice for our sins, so that we can gladly live to Him in love every year.
From the beginning, as it will be in 2012 also, the message of the disciples was not well received by people in general. Paul proclaimed, “We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” What kind of message will your ears be itching to hear in 2012?