Picture yourself for a moment a few centuries ago as a passenger on a storm-tossed sailing vessel in the midst of a raging gale. Water is deep in the hold and, despite hours of manning of the pumps by the crew, rising fast. The captain has just issued orders that the cargo on the ship needs to be jettisoned within the quarter hour to make the ship lighter or it will sink. You know this means stores, cannons, and anything else unnecessary needs to be tossed over the side immediately. As yet another wave crashes over the bow, you make your way down the swaying steps to the deck below to see if you can help the crew. Yet rather than seeing them loosing moorings to send cannons into the deep, you see the crew standing in a group in heated discussion. As you draw near, you see at their feet is a three-inch piece of of rope. To your astonishment, above the roar of the storm you hear them arguing whether they should toss it overboard or not. As you step even closer, your nose tells you that the crew is not swaying just because of the mountainous swells. They are drunk off their gourd.
Surely it is my love for reading Patrick O’Brien, C.S. Forrester, and at the moment Dudley Pope – all authors of historical fiction about the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars – that brings this picture to mind. For is this not what just took place in Washington this past weekend? Our country is in midst of a rising tidal wave of debt, everyone knows something drastic needs to be done to save our ship, but our leaders are arguing over minute matters.
Perhaps you say, “But they did cut nearly $40 billion last weekend. Isn’t that a great victory?” Uh, no. Consider the math:
- When even CBS News says Obama used “accounting sleight of hand,” we better worry.
- One cartoon picture helps you see. The spending pie for this year shows nearly half the pie (43%) already eaten, as it represents the deficit for this year only. The proposed amount of Republican cuts, which at the time of the cartoon was $61 billion, is represented by a few crumbs of the overhanging pie crust. This amount is insignificant when nearly half the pie is unfunded liabilities which will add another 1.65 trillion dollars to the already large deficit. Do you understand this means they only kept the deficit from getting about 2% bigger than it was going to get!?! That is not a cut in spending, but a small decrease in spending deficits!
- The debt clock continues to tick and grow with The Washington Times reporting total debt now equals our economy. How much longer can we sustain this before the ship sinks?
Yet perhaps a better question to ask than that last one is “What should we do?” Here are a few encouragements:
- Send an S.O.S to God – God’s Word tells us what to do when ships are sinking. Psalm 107:23-32 describes a ship in a storm, with everyone staggering “like a drunken man.” We are told what to do. “Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distress.” We need to take our nation to the throne of grace.
- Give godly counsel to the crew – I’d be the first to admit that, though I can play around with the numbers a bit as above, I fall far short of understanding all the politics involved in the budget process. Given our inexperience, the powers that be can make ordinary citizens feel as if we really do not understand. When the Apostle Paul found himself on a ship in a Mediterranean storm, though he was no sailor he still warned the captain and crew of dangers (Acts 27:9-11); encouraged them when the situation looked bleak (Acts 27:21-26); stayed alert and counseled them with respect to human nature (Acts 27:30-32); and reminded them through prayer of the remaining blessings even when shipwrecked (Acts 27:33-36). Christians must not withdraw but do the same with our political leaders. Are they hearing from you?
- Learn more about the ship – Though we may not be politicians and our true citizenship is in heaven, having a kingdom worldview means we should see all of life as subject to Christ’s rule. We should never say we are not interested in politics! For we are commanded to pray for our leaders, submit to them, and be salt and light to them. If we want to see our children and grandchildren being able to enjoy the blessings of freedom and worship we have experienced in this land, we must become increasingly informed and involved.
To that end, here is one more way to see the math and learn. Though no endorsement of the product used as the visual, is it not apt given that our leaders are spending money like a bunch of drunken sailors?