Friday, October 24, 2008

Reading the news with the Apostle Paul

It's a crisis. The economy of the U.S. and the world is in "crisis," "meltdown," or whatever other term garners the most political attention and sells news media. While government officials and economists debate the best way to "solve the problem," I have a few reflections on how to think Christianly about what is happening. First, the whole situation gives us a grave reminder of the greed and discontentment that drives and controls sinful human beings. As Al Mohler cited in his blog back on October 3rd,the debt of American households in 2006 was 100% of the gross domestic product. We have been one of the wealthiest nations in the world for years, enjoying luxuries far, far above what the majority of the world enjoys. Close to 3 billion people worldwide live on $2 a day or less, but we as a culture have decided that our incredibly lavish standard of living is not enough if we live within our means. No, we deserve much more, and deserve it now. We would do well to remember and to remind each other that "there is great gain in godliness with contentment." (1 Tim. 6:6) While we still have our wealth, let's use it to "be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share (1 Tim. 6:18)," not to rush headlong off the cliff of reckless borrowing to get more and more things with no lasting value. This seems like such a basic and trite idea for those of us who have been in the church for awhile, but is obviously one that is easy to forget. If contentment, discipline and generosity came easy to human beings, there wouldn't be a financial "meltdown" to solve. And as the economy takes a downward turn, possibly for a long time, this is an even more critical time to give generously and sacrificially. As we guard against risks and tighten our belts, let's nonetheless be willing to follow the example of the Macedonian church and allow our "test" to overflow in generosity. (2 Cor. 8:1-2) To be honest and personal, as one living below the poverty line and not owning stock or a home, I'm kind of liking the drop in gasoline prices thanks to the downturn...

1 comment:

unendingmercies said...

Nate--

Last week I started a blog post about a similar subject--how we are so blessed compared to most of the world in the midst of this economic "crisis." Thanks for reminding us to be generous in the meantime. We really do have SO much compared to most people (and we sure don't deserve it).

--Heather