Economic chaos, then and now…

gd40          Recently I viewed some tapes of the “Great Depression” and found some staggering differences between then and now.  Imagine looking for work all day and then coming home to find no food for dinner. Times were tough, unemployment reached 25% in some areas and for the first time in the history of our country the government was faced with having to provide for the masses. The average person did not blame the government for their circumstances but took personal responsibility. The challenges of life were physical but people had a spirit of hope. As for the immigrants, they so respected freedom that life in America even under trying times was superior to life elsewhere under oppression. They faced the physical dangers of poverty but managed to keep faith.

          In sharp contrast to the Great Depression Americans today are more fearful about losing their lifestyle than their life. We have lost the sense of the precious nature of freedom and cannot relate to living under oppression. I know that there are those among us that are in severe circumstances and I in no way want to diminsh the reality of their suffering, however the majority of the country is either suffering as a result of bad decisions or more likely to be worried about losing their toys rather than their evening meal. Unlike the the woes of 1929 the government does have programs in place to help those who are out of work and destitute. (I am not advocating the expertise of the current government but rather that which was put into place as a result of the previous depression, such as  medicare, social security, unemployment insurance, FDIC insurance and so on).

  joblessmen        Those who weathered the Great Depression did so with the belief that America promised an abundant life of material wealth and the freedom to enjoy their success. “The American Dream” was alive and well in the minds of the people and it was a healthy time for our country.  A new age of industrial strength was born and the United States became the most formidable power ever known in the history of the world. Prosperity abounded interrupted only by slight economic recessions until we came to the longest economic upswing in our history. The baby boomer generation ushered in a level of prosperity un-precedented by any other time. Perhaps too much of a good thing wasn’t in our best interest.

          You know what happens when a child eats too much candy, they get sick. During the good times our appetite for self-gratification grew exponentially. We filled our lives with so much clutter there was little time left for contemplation. Our insatiable desire for pleasure coupled with the fast pace of the electronic information age has caused Americans to trade depth for breadth. If there is a silver lining in going through such times it lies in the opportunity we have to live differently. We can re-evaluate what is really important and make adjustments to live simpler and more meaningful lives. Those who fail to see the needed adjustments are doomed to repeat the same failures and are in danger of never really having eternal security. “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself”? (Luke 9:25) NASB

          If our values change as a society then some of the inequities might change as well. If we stop paying ball players millions of dollars maybe we can afford to pay policeman, fireman, teachers and pastors an amount above the poverty scale. If we stop the insane selfish lawsuits that plague our society then the price of an aspirin in our hospitals might be far less than the fifty dollar price tag we now have to pay. If we value each other higher than we do a tree we might have more cooperation for saving the environment. Our society increasingly becomes more impersonal. It’s time to take the words of Jesus to heart, “…Love your neighbors as yourself.” (Matt.19:19) NASB  The looming danger of the “Great Depression” was the loss of physical life, the impending danger of our current time is the loss of our souls.

Share this post

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit

One Comment to “Economic chaos, then and now…”

  1. Helen says:

    Hi Pastor Roger – I really enjoy reading your blogs! Thank you for such though provoking words!

Leave a Reply