Let me start off by saying that I labored over whether or not to actually write this post, because... well... "debt" is just a completely non-festive, non-holiday topic. And the only way it relates to Christmas... is... when you buy too many gifts. Or at least, that the only way we think it relates... So, into what I actually wanted to write about.
This week, I've been writing a speech on the national debt, as those of you who read my random facebook updates are aware of. Overall, the topic was rather more depressing that I had thought it was going to be. The issue of America’s finances and national debt is quite possibly one of the most threatening plights in US history. At over $15 trillion dollars, the national debt is growing faster and higher than ever before. The US government borrows $2.6 million every minute. If the federal government began repaying the national debt at a rate of $10 million dollars a day, it would take 3,800 years to pay off the national debt. The government paid more than $196 billion dollars last year just in interest, and that number only continues to grow as our debt rapidly increases.
When I heard those numbers, I knew it sounded bad, but honestly I was completely lost in the millions, billions, and trillions. To put it into perspective, Laurie Newsom of the Gainesville Tea Party simply removed eight zeros from the end of each number, making it roughly the same amount as an easy-to-grasp household budget (thanks to Chris Riegg for posting this on facebook a few months ago). If America were a household, the annual income would be $21,700 dollars. However, the family would spend $38,200 that year, creating $16,500 of debt. This would leave their debt from all previous years at over $142,700. And the budget cuts? $385.
I could go on for ten minutes on the topic, literally (probably longer). America has dug herself a hole that I honestly have very little hope of climbing out of. Besides a complete mindset change in the American people, we would have to figure out how to not only keep from accumulating more debt, but pay off huge chunks of it at a time to keep up with the interest rate. You can probably understand why I came away fairly depressed from my research. The prospect seems rather hopeless. And believe it or not, I wasn't even the one to come up with the spiritual parallel.
At about 11:00 o'clock at night, Lauren Reavely and Macaela were standing around the kitchen counter listening to my complaints about the topic, my hopeless ranting about our horrible situation. And one of them, or both, pointed out to me the beautiful truth hiding behind my despair.
Each of us were in debt to God. Miserably in debt, and even unable to pay a penny against it. No "good" thing we could do would earn any amount in the eyes of a holy God. And each and every wrong we committed simply added to the ever-growing mass. We were stuck, and there was nothing we could do on our own. Our situation was ten thousand times worse than that of America today, because we really were altogether helpless and hopeless. Hopeless.
So what did Jesus do? He paid our debt completely, totally, and absolutely. Every cent. Not only that, He has switched those who believe on Him onto His bank account so that even when we mess-up in our Christian walk, the price of our sin is automatically paid for in His blood. When we show God our "financial record" on Judgment Day, it won't be ours. It will be the clean and paid for account of Jesus.
I love the gospel. It is the power of God. It is the reason for this season. It is why the baby was born in Bethlehem. Not to give us a cheery holiday, but to pay our debt and transform our lives.