Fred now has to decide between gas and groceries.
Jane is caught between driving to work and paying for medical bills.
Welcome to a new style of living.
Americans are feeling the pinch with 4$ a gallon at the pump. And the pundits are pulling out the stops, blaming, analyzing and using any and every reason for this economical crisis. The above illustrations come straight from conservative talk-show hosts.
Liberals blame the greedy, filthy oil companies (and by extension the greedy, filthy Conservatives). Conservatives blame bad government policy (and by extension bad Liberals). This means that laws must be passed to stick it to the oil companies or the bad policy makers.
But what if these policies do too little too late? What if the cause is complex and has one key component: human consumption.
How then should we live?
Fred could continue to live an in-to-our-neck debt lifestyle, with a new SUV, a new house, a new tv, cell-phone, cable, newspaper, weekly latte...you get the idea. And he will whine about having to buy less food, going further into debt, and having less savings. Of course, since gas is so expensive, priority driving is a must: yes for little league; no for Sunday worship. A priority of savings comes to the fore as well: yes for the new tv in two years (instead of one); no for next week's tithe.
Jane could sell the new car and buy a cheaper model, live in a rental, use an old tv (or chuck it), live with a technologically challenged land-line phone, stop paying for cable, dsl, newspapers...and that weekly latte (you get the idea). And she will whine a little less about having to buy less. She'll have more money for the more important things in life. She might even be able to attend little league and Sunday worship (but will choose the latter over the former in a pinch). In a good church situation, she could even get monetary aid.
The old American values of thrift, savings and hard-work are withering away with the very Gospel that birthed them. Will we return to living life God's way or the way of satisfying the flesh?
This gas problem will not go away. And it will be used of God to test His people's sanctification: will we live God's lifestyle or mammon's?