by Dr. Forrest L. Keener
Please understand that the following article is not intended to be political at all. I do not feel that I am addressing a political problem, though most people think our problem is political. I believe our problem is moral and spiritual, and that is why I address here. During the last few months we have seen a dreadful move in the economy, which has had many terrible effects. Housing values have plummeted, Businesses have had terrible earnings reports, and many are closing. Stock values have dropped dramatically. Foreclosures are up, and we could go on with many other catastrophic reports. The blame game is the biggest game in town, and the sad thing is that people accept the accusations as being the reason for our trouble. Some claim “It is the Bush
administration; It is the congress; It is the fat cats on Wall Street; It is exported jobs, It is the oil industry: It is the upper class, as opposed to the middle class; and on we could go blaming someone else. Constant comparative references are made to the great depression, and the same silly causes are given for that catastrophe, nearly eighty years ago. Acclamations then, were as they are now. “Republicans caused it,” “Herbert Hoover” caused it, “FDR solved the problem,” “FDR prolonged the problem.” etc., etc.
So much blame, all with enough truth to deceive us, but never do we face real truth or confess the real reason. History would teach us, if we would listen, that prosperity and recession is always cyclical, and to a reasonable extent, if not totally, each brings about the other. External government, by which I mean any force outside of our own personal discipline, whatever that
government may be, may somewhat stall the cyclical change, and if so, will, consequently, allow the ultimate effect to deepen. It will also aid us in placing blame, and hoping for remedy, outside our own personal conduct. Sometimes, societies muddle through the problem, as the USA has done during the last seventy five years, survive the collapse, as the economy heals itself, by forcing us to make the necessary adjustments, and still we do not learn what happened to us, or why. They blame one party, or administration, or the other, which is probably always a mistake, and also the reason they will repeat the same mistake until they finally self destruct, and die. I expect that the great prosperity, and the accompanying conduct, such as the USA enjoyed, and reveled in during the “Roaring 20's,” was the real cause of the great depression, and will usually, if not always, have the same effect on any human society. History seems to demonstrate that societies repeat the same mistake, without ever seeing it, until they blindly destroy themselves.
If I am right, the question that forces itself upon us is WHY? I know the answer I give, will make me a fool in the sight of the great majority of Americans. None the less, as God’s minister of the Gospel I must and will give the answer which I am sure is true. I give this answer because my Lord gave it. “Take heed and beware of covetousness.”
The word beware implies that covetousness will destroy surprisingly and suddenly. “This night thy soul shall be required of thee, then whose shall these things be which thou hast provided?” We can always find someone else to blame, but we have done it to ourselves. We have trapped ourselves, and may well have destroyed ourselves, in our own lust for the possession of desirable things. For instance, the rush to buy bigger and better houses, which we covet so greedily, has inflated the housing industry, thus causing a surplus of houses, and thereby creating a recession in the industry. The financial industry, desiring to make huge profits on loans, has artificially propped up the house building industry, causing more overbuilding, resulting in a drop in house values, until it has, at least, temporarily, depressed that entire industry. That destroys the market, thus driving down home values, thus destroying personal wealth, thus the financial institutions, and on it goes. This is true of houses, as well as business buildings, and it has created a nationwide domino effect, which has echoed across our nation, and now even around the world. This same domino effect is true in the case of the automotive industry, and while each effects the other, a thousand other industries across this land. The sad fact is this: Instead of rejoicing in The Lord, who has loaded us with all these benefits, and spending much time in thanksgiving, we have consumed His blessings upon our own lusts, and scrambled for more and better possessions.
Whether we squander our wealth on recreation and luxuries, or hoard it for future bank balances, the motivation and the result is the same. We have forgotten, and in many cases, denied the Lord who gave us all these things to enjoy. Therefore, those blessings have become a curse, and they are the very thing that we have used to destroy ourselves. Many people who profess Christ as Lord and Savior, live as if there were no God. Instead of daily gathering around the table, taking a moment for worship, and thanking God for their food, they grab a TV tray, or a hand full of junk food, and rush to their own favorite TV program, or gaming spot. By example, they teach their children exactly as much about God, as do pigs. They spend more money on restaurants and recreation than they do on world evangelism. When we, as a society, live like this, how can we expect the world around to have any respect for Christianity. Indeed, how can we expect that God would suffer us to continue very long in such energetic covetousness. May
God, in His mercy, forgive once more, and call us to repentance! If He does not, we may well see the first worldwide famine.
Let’s, at least, have the sense of the people of Nineveh. (Jonah 3:6-10)
Forrest Keener is an evangelist out of Sherwood Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Lawton, Oklahoma for over forty years. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org