So May 21, 2011 wasn’t the end of the world. I know because it’s May 22, 2011 and my wife and kids are still here… And Mark Driscoll, Judd Wilhite and Brian Moll all already tweeted already this morning.
So over the past weeks and months the guy that began promoting the date for the end of the world got a lot of attention. I also read yesterday that his ministry is worth over $76 million. I also read that he spent approximately $100 million dollars in media promoting the May 21 date around the world – buying newspaper ads and billboards like this one all over the world.
$100 million dollars? Are you kidding me?!?
Let’s suppose he had taken that money and challenged everyone to END WORLD HUNGER? It’s estimated that it would take about $30 billion dollars per year to end world hunger. Now $100 million is just a drop in the bucket – but it provenly buys a pretty significant advertising campaign. Too bad the ads weren’t different.
Between the USA and UK we throw away over $130 BILLION dollars worth of food each and every year. Suppose we could reduce that waste by just 10% each year… I know – it’s simplified math and I am naive. But I still bet $100 million worth of ads pointing to helping feed the starving would have been BETTER!
Even if we assume the guys intentions were pure in wanting to warn people of a date he was convinced was the return of Jesus and the end of the world… Pressuring people to make a decision to follow Christ based on fear of the end of the world is not really an introduction to who Jesus is at all. Fear of hell or death does not bring a true heart change for God. I wonder how many people even decided to follow Christ because of those billboards? Let’s make a wildly generous assumption that it was 1 million people (no way did that happen by the way!). I wonder how many of them are feeling tricked this morning? Feeling like they just got duped? Feeling like Christ Followers really are the bunch of weirdos they always thought we were before they fell for this trick? How many of them are ever going to be willing to listen to the story of Christ ever again?
Now let’s suppose that same 1 million people had fallen in love with a message of helping end world hunger because of a very different message on a billboard. Maybe they would have gotten passionate about helping by just reducing the amount of food they throw away so they could Help Heal Haiti? If that 1 million people had gotten excited and figured away to divert just 25% of their wasted food $ – that would have been approximately $200 million dollars. Simple math? Yeah – but it really is a simple problem too.
Wow – frustrating. $100 million dollars did a lot of damage. Damage to the Kingdom. Damage to our witness. And it could have been so different.