Alan Cross recently posted some excellent thoughts about the economic wealth lost over the past year. Is God trying to tell us something?
"A few days ago, I speculated about the amount of American household wealth that has been lost in the past year. I found out how much has been lost, and it is staggering. This includes savings, stock values, retirement accounts, and home values. It comes out to over SEVEN TRILLION DOLLARS. Seven trillion dollars of household wealth has evaporated in the past year. Unbelievable.
These numbers come from Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis:
2007 Q4 -$1.46 Trillion
2008 Q1 -$2.42 Trillion
2008 Q2 -$0.39 Trillion
2008 Q3 -$2.81 Trillion
Mish goes on to say, "$7.08 Trillion in wealth has vaporized in the past year. Figure 2008 Q4 to be as bad as Q3. If so, roughly $10 Trillion in household wealth will be vaporized in little over a year. And looking ahead, there is no reason to believe the stock market, the housing market, or the economy will show signs of recovery anytime soon."
How much have Christians lost? What if we had invested our share of this in Kingdom work a year ago? If you figure that there are 300 million Americans and 40 million evangelical Christians (common number), that means that evangelicals make up approximately 13 percent of the population. If you figure that evangelicals lost as much as everyone else, that would put their loss at $1.3 trillion over the past 5 quarters (15 months). If you just took 10% of that, that is $130 billion. I know that these numbers are just speculation and cannot be proven exactly, but I doubt that I am far off. By and large, evangelicals tend to be more prosperous financially than the nation at large.
So, what if evangelicals had given away $130 BILLION last year to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth, fight global poverty, bring holistic economic development, provide clean drinking water, fight disease, care for needy children, and feed the hungry? What if we had given away even a fraction of what is now gone? Evaporated? Never to be seen again?
How different would our world be? How many lives would have been saved? How many would have heard the gospel and believed? How many things would be different?
It is all gone now and we have nothing to show for it. We are all scrambling trying to maintain our standard of living while the world sinks into economic ruin caused by selfishness and greed. Have we learned anything? Will we learn anything? We are blessed to be a blessing. When will we realize that God has given us amazing blessings so that we can bless and care for others. If we fail to do so and use it on ourselves, what will our response be when it is all taken away?
Greed is idolatry. You cannot love both God and money. I am not saying that it is wrong to enjoy a nice standard of living. I am just saying that we have lost so much . It is now gone. What if we had seen our wealth differently? What if we had seen it as a resource to bless others instead of as something to store up for ourselves? What if?"
In light of the above, I would invite us all to meditate on Psalm 67. Maybe God is growing weary of our using for our own ends the blessings he has bestowed upon us. As Alan asks, what if we had given it all away instead? What do you think?