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American inflation from a Christian perspective

Getty Images/Malte Mueller

America is experiencing a time of upheaval. With inflation skyrocketing to the highest levels in 40 years, civil unrest, unprecedented incidents involving gun violence, and the troubling pull away from traditional Christian values, many Americans are deeply concerned about what type of future is on the horizon for our country. Especially worrisome is how many Americans will keep pace with the constantly rising costs of almost everything.

Putting these challenges in perspective, however, we Americans are still abundantly blessed. Other places in the world are not afforded the luxuries that many of us so easily take for granted. For example, while our inflation rate is hovering in the 10% plus range, it is no comparison to that of the nation of Zimbabwe. Their rate was 192% in June of 2022, tipping even higher since then. That means that the cost of many items has tripled in just one year. A loaf of bread for $2.00 would now be $6.00 if it could even be found on store shelves. Many items simply cannot be found. We can only imagine their sense of fear, anxiety, and despair as they wonder how they may navigate the future.

A recent article from AP News follows the Carlos family, residents of Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare. Mr. Carlos earns about $100 per month working an overnight security job — hardly enough to cover basic living expenses. The family utilizes a well on the property they rent to subsidize their income by pumping water and selling it by the bucketful to neighbors. Regular water shortages in the city of more than 2.4 million often require people to find their own sources of water. On a good day, 12 buckets sold by the Carlos family bring in about $2, enough for the day’s food. Or they may trade water for some vegetables if the family needing water has no money to pay. They must also scrounge for firewood as many meals are prepared over open fires as electricity is unpredictable. The children often study at night by candlelight.

The government of Zimbabwe has determined that the solution to this problem can be solved by issuing gold coins as legal tender. The value of the one ounce, 22-carat coins will coincide with the international price of gold, currently hovering slightly under $2,000. This action is meant to help maintain the value of household savings for the citizens of their country. As the Carlos family has considered this solution, they realize that the average household has no savings and purchasing gold coins, even in smaller denominations, is not a possibility. They are left to continue eking out a living as best they can, one day at a time.

Our lives under current conditions in America can be frustrating, but very few of us imagine no water when we turn on the tap. We fully expect the power to flow when we turn on the switch. Even if we don’t call Door Dash or Uber Eats to deliver dinner, we expect the stove to heat or the microwave to cook any variety of food we place there. And most of us can manage to tuck at least a little something away in that rainy day fund. We face challenges for sure, but nothing like so many families around the world.

This is one of the reasons it is essential for Christians to be more dedicated to the Great Commission than ever before. The only true promise of hope for these precious people who are greatly suffering is found in knowing Jesus Christ. The Lord is able to sustain those who place their confidence in Him. But to be able to know Christ, people need to hear of Him.

This is why the Global Tide Broadcasting Association, The Tide®, shares the Gospel on three continents, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Without this global vision of hope, there is little chance for a dark and broken world to improve.

Our world can change for the better when we share the Good News of the Gospel and allow Christ to work in the hearts of all those for whom He gave His life. How would our perspective change if we considered the plight of others before our own? And what could the world be like if our fellow citizens of this planet, who have far less than we, would be offered the chance to know Jesus Christ as Lord? If we keep our own inflation in perspective, there is a lot each of us could do to help make hope a reality.

Jeffrey Knauer is the Director of Development for the Gospel Tide Broadcasting Association (The Tide®), headquartered in Chambersburg, PA. He previously served as Executive Vice President of KSA Services, a division of Kirby-Smith Associates, a company founded in 1938 as a Ministry of Church Stewardship. Knauer has done extensive work with churches of more than 20 denominations across the United States, conducting Vision Development Seminars, Feasibility Studies, Stewardship and Capital Funds Campaigns, including more than 350 successful campaigns and projects.

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