I am writing this editorial on “Christmas day,” as I was pondering if there is really joy in the world at this time? I hardly think so.
There has been a real economic downturn this past year, affecting most of us. The US government finally admitted what we already knew–that the USA has been in a recession for the last year. Wall Street is bankrupt, corruption and overspending are rampant, and the US government pumps hundreds of billions of dollars into financial institutions and the auto industry that were making bad and irresponsible decisions for their clients. Our financial experts have seemingly not learned the lesson of history that we cannot spend our way out of debt.
Can you imagine what you would have to face if you were in a situation many banks and the auto industry are in? If you were to go to a bank to ask for a bailout for your stupidity, they would laugh themselves into a frenzy and that is just before throwing you out. We cannot break all the financial laws of economics and expect a good result in the end.
Billions have been lost in the value of stocks, and many have been totally wiped out financially by the recent fifty billion dollars scam on Wall Street. This was the deed of an unscrupulous trader affecting both the investments of individuals and corporations.
The price of oil is down over a hundred dollars a barrel from just over six months ago, because of lower demands and higher unemployment figures.
If there is even a road to recovery, especially for the USA, Great Britain and Canada, it would be very slow, with some analysts predicting it will not happen, if at all, until 2010 or much later.
These are just some few issues dealing with the economy. I have not even touched on the hundreds or thousands of additional problems which threaten and plague humanity.
What does all of this mean for Christians, living in this world? It means we have to be careful that we don’t get ourselves in over our heads financially. This is also true for the Church. The Church still has the responsibility of preaching and publishing the gospel–the good news of the soon-coming Kingdom of God–and to feed the flock (compare Matthew 24:14, Mark 13:10 and John 21:17). We do so, as the Church, by using the generous tithes and offerings of brethren and co-workers in a responsible manner, in walking through doors which God opens for us, spending what we have, but not, what we don’t have.
Individually, we must apply the same caution. Most importantly, we are to continue to grow in grace and knowledge (compare 2 Peter 3:18). We grow the most on our knees, while our heart is in the Work of God, realizing that nothing could be more crucial than to help hastening the coming of the Lord. We accomplish this through God’s Spirit, using the tools of prayer, Bible study, fasting and meditation.
Just what will 2009 bring? Joy, happiness and a sense of well being for mankind? I hardly think so. 2009 will bring, in all likelihood, more of the same problems we faced in 2008, with increasing intensity, and with no viable human solution in sight. In all of this, we must not lose heart, knowing that our salvation is nearer than when we came to the faith. We are one year closer to the real solution of all of the world’s problems, as well as our own, and that is the return of Christ. We have to put our shoulders to the wheel and push forward, and not look back.
In the end we win, yet there is no promise that we won’t have trials and difficulties. But it’s all worth the effort. Like a woman who was in travail prior to giving birth, her pain is forgotten for the joy of bringing another human being into the world. We must look to the future when there will be great joy, true happiness and fulfillment in God’s Kingdom–when we will be Spirit beings–born-again sons and daughters in God’s very Family.
That is a goal worth waiting for and worth working towards. It is the only hope for all of our problems and trials.