Do you know how much $700 billion is?

Do you know how much $700 billion is? Yes, it is the amount of taxpayer bailout that the United States administration is urging Congress to adopt in order to save the financial institutions that have recklessly accumulated “toxic debt” in their quest for skyrocketing profits. But how much is $700 billion? If the 3,200 students at Andrews University were to be declared the beneficiaries of this bailout, each of our students would be receiving $218,750,000. One could afford college education with a subsidy like that! How much is $700 billion? If you sent the bill to the 330 million men, women and children living in the United States it would cost each of us $2,121.21. But in reality, the addition of this $700 billion bailout to our national debt raises our debt to an unfathomable $11.3 trillion! If this nation began to pay off that debt $100 billion per year, it would take 113 years (assuming not a single penny more were added to that debt during the time). In response to the dramatic downward spiral of both our national and global economies over the last few days, the blogosphere is electric in reaction. Todd Harrison, with, opined, “The free market system officially broke last week and the ramifications are profound. A new world order is upon us, one that will forever change the construct of capitalism” (9-24-08). Likening this crisis response to what took place post September 11, 2001, his lengthy two page analysis included the sobering observation, “Indeed, anticipation of social unrest may be the catalyst for the decision to transfer troops back to the states [sic]. Beginning Oct. 1, a military army brigade will be an ‘on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters,’ the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment of this kind” ({0FBD43B9-A7CA-4816-95C2-2ABA25FE8ED8}). The point is inescapable, irrespective of your political persuasion or economic acumen. We now live in an hour of profound and rapid change. Literally overnight the headlines are rewriting life as we know it. I received an email from a young adult this week asking if there is anything to her remembering reading somewhere once that economic crisis would precede the return of Christ. Revelation 18 unapologetically describes such a global financial meltdown. And you can be certain our own nation will not be spared. How then should we now live? The bold command of Christ bears our brooding: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . . . for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 TNIV). Though we may consider ourselves treasureless, nevertheless Jesus’ point is clear—we must invest our very selves in the kingdom of God. If ever there were an hour of history when our treasures would not be just well-spent, but best-spent in advancing the everlasting gospel to the ends of a very uncertain civilization, this would surely be it, wouldn’t you agree? . . . for the pastor’s weekly blog, go to