By Ron Dorner
The numbers are flying. We are used to hearing the government talk about millions and billions; but what is all this chatter of trillions? Consider what is a trillion (1,000,000,000,000). A stack of $1,000 bills a little more than four inches tall equals $1 million. A stack of $1,000 bills 358 feet tall equals $1 billion. A stack of $1,000 bills 67.9 miles tall equals $1 trillion.
The U.S. government appears to be in deep trouble. The money it spends comes from only three potential sources – taxes, borrowing, or printing money. Tax increases hurt individuals. Borrowing affects people because of the increased cost of government and printing money makes the dollar worth less.
Here are the facts from the non-partisan Office of Management and Budget website (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/).
– In FY2008 the government paid $412 billion in interest on debt and in the same year added $459 billion more debt (budget deficit).
– At the close of FY2009 (October 1, 2009) another $1,752 billion in debt will have been added.
– As of March 3, 2009 the national debt was $10.8 trillion.
– Next year, if interest rates stay the same, our government will be paying $500 billion per year in interest on debt. (This is a stack of $1,000 bills 33.9 miles tall)
How does the future look? I predict bigger budgets, more government spending, and bigger debts. Lack of ethics, wisdom, and concern for the future of our country is evident throughout the federal government.
What are Christians to do? God has provided the answers. When Paul wrote Romans 13, he and his fellow believers were living under a government which ruled harshly and exacted heavy taxes. It had the power to execute those who failed to follow their rulers’ desires. Paul told the believers of that day to be under the subjection of government, pay the taxes as demanded, and give honor to those in authority.
We need to look closer. Paul was aware that in the grand scheme of things God had ordained that the Romans were to rule in his day. In the latter half of the chapter, Paul gets back to how we are to act as believers. We are to love our neighbor, behave properly, and to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” In times when government is not benign, we are to keep our focus and take even more effort to walk the walk and be the witness and testimony that Christ would have us to be.
Pray for government leaders, but not along your political persuasion. Pray that God would draw them to Himself through Christ. Pray that they would legislate and lead as God plans. Be active in writing or calling to your leaders regarding things you feel require your opinion.
Pray that we the church will be active, with love and physical assistance, in reaching out to people who are hurting and fearful. But most of all, pray we will bear the message of the gospel and the wonderful things that lie ahead for those who are born-again.
Satan would like nothing more than to see believers pre-occupied with the details of the economy and not realize that the time to witness may be very short. In Romans 13:11, Paul, after speaking to the issue of respecting your government, says, “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.”
Ron Dorner is director of Biblical Money Management. BMM has been helping believers handle their finances and estate planning since 1984. Online counseling is available at www.BiblicalMoneyManagement.com.