In 2013, Americans spent just over 600 billion dollars celebrating Christmas, Kwanza and Hanukah. Where is all of the money coming from? That’s a really good question. After all, real median household income in the United States hasn’t exactly been going up. Just check out this chart:
So, what’s the deal? One word: debt. Here’s a chart looking at all of the consumer, government and commercial debt in the United States since 1949:
The United States, as a whole, is 57 trillion dollars in debt. To put this in perspective, that number was just over 13 trillion in 1990. Our total debt has roughly quadrupled in the last 25 years. Instead of sacrificing present pleasure for future gain, people are mortgaging their futures at a rapid pace. In other words, the party is over, but no one wants to turn the lights out.
Now, obviously, not all debt is bad. In fact, it can be very useful. Yet, when someone goes into significant credit card debt, it makes the person a slave to whatever they’re trying to gain from it. Jesus once said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). Everyone serves something, and it’s far easier to serve our own desires. Of course, the Bible says “by that which a man is overcome, to this he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19). People are enslaved to what they treasure most. It could be popularity, power or prosperity, but whatever it is, they dedicate their lives to obtaining it.
Jesus said “Truly, truly I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). Yet, He offered this glorious promise: “Therefore if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Christians have been freed from sin to become slaves of God (Romans 6:18). Since we have been bought with a price, Christ’s death, we are His slaves. We’ve been purchased from the slavery of sin, so we can no longer serve the sinful desires of the human heart (1 Corinthians 7:23). We can no longer follow other people into sin. We must obey Christ. Like He said “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Luke 16:13).
Eventually, the debt-fueled party will come to an end in the United States. The illusion of prosperity can’t be maintained forever, and when it comes crashing down, what will people turn to? It’s tough to say, but the Bible offers this great promise: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).