By William Cripe Sr.
It surprises people when I tell them that Jesus had more to say about the proper use of money than he did about any single issue, including heaven and hell. Jesus knows us, what can I say? We spend the majority of our lives trying to maximize our earnings, and that insatiable desire for more sometimes heightens an innate lack of sense. A Kansas man walked into a Topeka, Kwik Stop, asked for all the money in the cash drawer but was dissatisfied with the small amount of cash. This mastermind then tied up the store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours–until police showed up and busted him.
As a pastor it is tough enough trying to teach a wise use of our funds to those who are supposed to be committed to godly counsel. Try getting a nation of spiritually lethargic, overfed cattle to buy into the perils of overspending at the national level. There are few who are willing to do so even in their own lives. We are in deep trouble and as usual the illusion of power is corrupting the urgency of solution for the impending economic disaster. We are not approaching a financial crisis; we are in it and the only reason it doesn’t feel like it is because at the moment, there are too many other interests outside the United States who have a stake in our ability to maintain. The United States monetary system is a veritable house of cards and all it needs is a breeze to bring it down.
So what is the cure? It’s not difficult to articulate, but it is nearly impossible to implement. Here’s why. Let’s say you have maxed out your credit cards, and all viable avenues of personal credit which have enabled you to rob Peter to pay Paul are no longer available. You will lose everything unless you curtail your spending to something less than your income. That is difficult enough but then the “excess” must be irrevocably applied to your current debt in a significant way such that it covers not only the minimum payment on all your credit, but stays ahead of the interest your current debt is piling up. Accomplishing this necessitates elimination of all non-vital expenditures. You will have to voluntarily lose some things, or end up involuntarily losing everything.
So let’s get real here, this means the satellite dish–ouch–has to go, all subscriptions–stopped, all morning latte’s and lunches outside of home-made must cease, new this or upgraded that, are gone, and–sit down–the internet along with your cell phone(s) must be forfeited (land lines are cheaper).
I can hear the protests from here and this is only at a personal level. Now imagine having to do this on a national scale realizing there’s a “ringer” in all this for it to happen. Someone–meaning one political party or the other will bare the blame for the kind of real-life changes that must take place, which means that party’s future is dismal.
Like I said, the real solution is nearly impossible unless a leader emerges who, after the fashion of Joseph in Pharaoh’s day, is discerning and wise convincing the nation of Egypt to commit to an austerity program in the years of plenty to prevent an all out catastrophe in the impending days of lack. I don’t see that person or party on the horizon.
The future is bleak for the path we are on but if there is an up-side, it is that we will become a nation of pray-ers perhaps like never before.