One of my favourite films is Armageddon. It’s cheezy and has a highly improbable plot; an asteroid is plummeting toward Earth and when it hits, all life will be wiped out instantly. Meteor showers have already blitzed parts of Europe and it’s up to one man, the world’s best oil driller, Harry Stamper, to be trained by NASA in 12 days (told you it was improbable), go into Space with his crew and drill into the middle of asteroid to break it up.
There’s a scene where Harry says to his team;
I know we have to go. We can all just sit here on Earth, wait for this big rock to crash into it, kill everything and everybody we know. The United States government just asked us to save the world. Anybody want to say ‘no’?
Ok, so it’s just a film (and I’ll not include any spoilers on the rather slim chance you’ll want to watch it) but there’s a narrative which runs through it, which is pretty familiar;
The world is in a mess. It’s up to us to save it.
From the battle to wipe out ISIS (or whatever they’re called this week) to the Climate conference in Paris, the weighty responsibility and burden of ‘fixing’ the world runs through every public statement and drafted policy;
It’s up to us. We have to do something. We have to do more. We have to do less. Boots on the ground. Less emissions. More Green technology. Less bombs. Saving the planet is our responsibility.
I honestly think we should be good stewards of what’s been given to us. But does the heavy responsibility of saving the planet from war and destruction, really sit on our collective shoulders? Can we actually save ourselves from extinction?
For me, the answer lies in the Christmas story. God saw that when left to our own devices, we make a pretty shocking mess of things. From the beginning of the Bible and the first recorded murder, through to evil kings, unjust priests and every vile act of genocide in-between, we have proved time and time again, that we don’t know how to fix the world.
Instead, humans continue to destroy what we have with war, terrorism, racism, and every other ‘ism’ you can think of. Greed and sin is a heart infection from which we struggle to escape. The whole point of Jesus, as a Saviour, was to give us something we could never give to ourselves; peace on earth, goodwill, hope and a life beyond this one.
So, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t protect and defend what we have. It’s not an excuse to sit on our bums and wait for ‘God to fix it’. But, while taking action, it’s about also remembering, that (unlike Harry Stamper and his red-necked crew) the ultimate future of the universe isn’t up to us.
If we could save the world ourselves, we would not have needed a Saviour.
Do not trust in princes,
In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation (help).
When his spirit leaves him, he returns to the earth;
In that very day his thoughts and plans perish.
How blessed and graciously favoured is he whose help is the God of Jacob (Israel),
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them,
Who keeps truth and is faithful forever
(Psalm 146 AMP)