Despite Biden administration apologists' attempts to spin rocketing inflation as a non-issue for Americans, particularly those in lower-income households, that narrative is ostensibly outed as fake news by the latest Gallup poll.
An overwhelming majority (71%) of U.S. adults' households making less than $40,000 report a financial hardship from the rapid rise in prices of goods and energy heading into the holiday and winter season. That includes 54% of households without a college degree and 45% of all U.S. adults' households, according to the poll. Access the full article here
Inflation certainly is touching us all. Unfortunately, it is not going to ease up anytime soon. While supply chain issues and various government policies play a roll in short-term inflation, the underlying reason for long-term inflation is easy enough to discern.
Our government continues to print money beyond anything we could have imagined just five or ten years ago. This is true not only of our government, but the governments of the world. Central banks over the past two years increased the global money supply by 20 trillion dollars. This increased money supply is the primary driving force behind rising inflation.
Since our government (and others) are bent on out of control spending there is no hope inflation will moderate any time soon. In fact, it is very likely to get much worse before it gets better.
Perhaps you have read more about inflation than I have, but to summarize what I have learned no nation in history has ever escaped the ravages of hyperinflation once on the path we are now travelling. It is reason for real concern.
The question arises as to how believers should react to this growing concern. I certainly am not going to pretend to have all the answers. However, there is some unchanging wisdom from God's Word that applies to every situation. We would be wise to prepare for the future by applying that wisdom to our personal financial situation.
First, evaluate how you honor the Lord. Do you find joy putting him first in your finances? Remember, the promises of God's faithfulness to those who keep him first do not expire when the world is imploding. I suggest you evaluate your giving and always keep the Lord first (For a lesson on obedience and how the Lord is able to bless you even during a "famine," read Genesis 26:1-16; note verses one and twelve).
Next, embrace contentment. Contentment is the only antidote to the problem of covetousness. Covetousness has quietly troubled our nation as millions of Americans over extend themselves to live in houses that are to big, cars that are to expensive, and generally know no bounds on spending.
Of course, we have legitimate needs. However, why are so many Americans living pay check to pay check with household incomes of up to $150,000.00 per year? Simply stated we ignore the warning and wisdom found in 1 Timothy 6:6-10 and Hebrews 13:5-6.
Now don't misunderstand. Obviously household income varies greatly across the nation. However, without contentment it does not matter how much we make. While there are many families who do struggle with lower incomes, the fact remains millions of Americans should be doing much better than they are.
My advice to you is to beware of covetousness (Luke 12:15-21). The unique problem Americans have with covetousness is not that they are generating more income and thus need to "build bigger barns," rather they use debt to finance lifestyles that create the allusion of possessing "bigger barns."
As inflation grows new pressures are created on those who are over extended. The working poor feel those pressures, however so do the millions who look prosperous but are over extended.
The point is simple enough. Pull back and live simpler lives. Be contented with food and clothing. Evaluate your situation and do what is necessary to assure the ravages of inflation do not destroy your ability to have enough food and clothing. Vacations, gadgets, newer cars, etc. are not necessities.
And that brings me to the next point. Reduce debt, do not increase debt.
The truth is those who are debt free can weather most any kind of financial storm. It doesn't mean they don't feel the difficulties that come, but because they are free the situation is radically different for them.
In the first place, in a bad economy you keep what you own. However, it is very possible to lose most everything you do not own. Consequently, strive to become debt free and in the current climate of growing inflation avoid consumer debt like the plague.
Remember, the underlying spiritual problem that drives too much debt is discontent. Couple that with the problem of pride (keeping up with the Jones) and you have the perfect formula for personal financial disaster.
Unfortunately, greater challenges lie ahead for all of us. Our world is a mess and the ungodly do not have any answers. Sound, godly living is so minuscule there is little to hold back the inevitable collapse of the US and world economy.
I cannot speak for you, but I believe the words of Jesus in Matthew chapter six. I believe we should obey the Lord and lay our treasure up in heaven where the thief (especially the one in Washington D.C.) cannot touch it and the rust cannot ruin it.
Be careful to strike the right balance. Fighting the battle against inflation to preserve the value of your net worth is only wise if you have an eye on eternity. Preserving wealth only to hoard it for self is the antithesis of the Spirit of Christ.
While our Lord certainly teaches us to avoid the accumulation of too much wealth in this world (we do so by becoming distributors of that wealth - Cf. 1 Timothy 6:17-19), that is not a prohibition against saving for legitimate needs.
Appropriate savings is not in the category of "laying up treasure" on the earth. A good rule of thumb is to save 10 to 20% of your net spendable income for future needs. In time as the Lord may prosper you part of that savings can be put to work to grow more income over time.
As your "fields bring forth plenty" you must then decide to avoid the "barn building" syndrome of which Jesus warns in Luke chapter 12.
I close with this summary: inflation is not going away and it could become very devastating; keep Christ first in your life; embrace contentment and by all means avoid consumer debt; if you are debt free STAY THAT WAY!; save appropriately; if the Lord has entrusted a measure of wealth to you beyond your needs be ready to help others as the needs around us grow.