Why is America Blessed?

This is the question I can’t stop thinking about.

Why does North America have so much, while the rest of the world has so little?

The little trip my hubby and I took at the beginning of the month wasn’t a romantic getaway. It was an informational meeting with an amazing Christian charity that works in Africa. We wanted to learn more and we did. We don’t know if we have a future with this group, but we are asking God and we’re trying to be patient.

In one of the sessions, they had every person take a colored piece of paper from a closed box. Our classroom was divided into groups based on our colored slips of paper. The medium-sized groups with 10 or more people signified the countries with world’s most wealth, America one of them.

In the far corner of the room, sat the group with the smallest amount of wealth: Africa, a continent with more than a billion people with the smallest amount of money per capita in the world.

It was shocking to see the room divided so unfairly and heartbreaking to know that this wasn’t a game. It was real.

Why is America so blessed? What are we to do with our wealth? We are a nation possessed with achieving more and more and more. I know no one likes these kind of questions. They make us feel uncomfortable. I have always thought that every pay raise, every unexpected check in the mail, every extra in my life was God’s blessing. God’s blessing for me. Now, I’m not so sure. Why would God want me to have more and more and MORE, while so many have nothing?

Every good gift comes from God above, but gifts are meant to be given.

Right?

I received this comment yesterday and thought it was thought-provoking: “Yesterday I read a post on Get Rich Slowly about how frugality is great, but really there’s nothing wrong with buying lots of nice things for yourself as long as you can really afford them. When I’d finished the article, I thought, “Is there no room for giving in this?” I believe there IS something wrong with lots of spending, even if I can “afford” it. Because maybe I have what I have not because I earned it, but because God blessed me with it. And maybe He expects me to share it, even just a little. But probably a lot.”

Why do you think America is so blessed?

Is it so we can build a greater country or is it for us to help that poor continent and others like it in the corner of the room and make HIS glory known?

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Do you know what I think is the scariest thing of all? I’m starting to think that it’s very possible that America is not necessarily blessed by God but perhaps we are being “blessed” by Satan. Our wealth (and our desire for more wealth) has become (at best) an incredible distraction from God’s heart and (at worst) an idol we place above Him. Something that does that? That distracts us from worshiping God with ALL we’ve got? That becomes something we value more than Him?

    Well, I’m starting to realize that it’s *not* from Him.

    Every good and perfect gift comes from above. But a good gift won’t turn us into selfish, greedy beings. And a perfect gift won’t distract us from perfection.

    So what *is* this “gift” of wealth? And where is it coming from?

    • 1.2

      kristen says

      Wow, Lindsey, what a thought-provoking opinion. I haven’t ever thought about it, but I think you may be right. I’m going to ponder on this. Thank you for sharing this thought w/us.

      • 1.2.1

        says

        I too, am chewing on this thought… Could it be both? A gift from God that satan tries to twist into something that distracts us from God?

        One thing is clear — to whom much is given, much is expected — we are not blessed so that we can be blessed, we are blessed in order to be able to bless others. I’m experiencing that right now in Honduras with Compassion, and it’s put it all into focus for me, more than ever.

        • 1.2.1.1

          says

          Yes, JD, I certainly think it can be both! God blessed Job and Solomon with wealth beyond our imaginations, so I know that God is not inherently against wealth. But those instances where God blessed with material prosperity are few and far between. Warnings against wealth, storing up treasure on Earth, greed, and love of money are heartily abundant, though. When I see the way we live as Americans, I see exactly how much Satan has twisted our understanding of God’s “blessings”.

          1 Timothy 6 speaks greatly toward this issue. Godliness with contentment is great gain. Content with the basics, that is…not all the luxuries.

          • 1.2.1.1.1

            A. says

            what if it is not satan who has “gifted” us with the desire of money, but man? it is man who can take something used for good and turn it to be used for evil. i think satan provokes the urge but it is man who makes his final decision, with the help of God if he chooses. i am not helping satans side, but we do need to be responsible for our actions and decisions. for example; the internet can be very helpful, but some abuse it, along with food, transportation (pollution), and weapons. satan tempts us but we have learned from God right vs. wrong and then he leaves it up to us to make our own decision.

  2. 2

    sugandha says

    Wow kristen.
    What a thought-provoking article…This is definitely something that I didn’t think about. Love the quote…:))

  3. 3

    Lorie says

    Is America really blessed? To go along with Lindsay’s post, we’re also the fattest country with the most chronic diseases, probably the highest depression, suicide rates and who knows what else. What has our wealth and knowledge bought us? Highly processed food that seems to be making us very sick, more and more stuff that overwhelms us, high divorce rates because we don’t spend enough time on our relationships, etc., etc. Yep, definitely looks like the work of Satan to me. What are we to do? I don’t know. That’s definitely something I’ll have to keep pondering and praying about. Thanks for making us think.

  4. 5

    says

    Great question. America does more to fund the gospel around the world than any other nation by far. I’ve heard the statistics, they’re staggering. We must be reaping what we’re sowing – in this area anyway.

  5. 6

    says

    We were just talking about the wealth in America yesterday with two interns from the US we have staying with us for a year. As a missionary who sees and experiences how most of the world lives, it’s easy to get judgmental about the standard of living in America. We have to guard our hearts because I really believe there is nothing wrong with wealth. And I do think the wealth in America is a blessing from God. And I think He intends for us to be a blessing to the world. I think all American Christians should take a mission trip to see how the rest of the world lives- not just Africa, there are plenty of people in India, China, South America, etc who are living on not much – so they can keep a perspective. As Americans we should thank God for His blessings and then ask Him where we should give. We are blessed to be a blessing! Oh, but that still doesn’t answer your question…why? I agree with Debi – we do still do the most to fund the Gospel as well as provide humanitarian aid all around the world.

  6. 7

    says

    This country is undoubted blessed with material things. But I too wonder if they are really a blessing. In some ways, absolutely. I have a safe place to sleep tonight, a roof over my head and food in the fridge for tomorrow. I have more food in my kitchen right now than some people will see in a month. (It’s a bit sobering to write that statement.)

    But having stuff also seems to make it less likely that we will connect with other people and with God in a meaningful way. Is it really worth all this stuff if we are having to work so much that we cannot even enjoy dinner together as a family? Is it worth missing out on the richness in life that only God can offer?

  7. 8

    says

    America is blessed because we were built as a Christian nation – led by men who wanted to further the Gospel and provide a haven for freedom of religion. They acknowledged God from the formation of this country. We are blessed because we have stood (up until recently) side-by-side with God’s chosen people – Israel. We are blessed because, as a nation, we give more than the rest of the world COMBINED. Americans have always been known as the most charitable people on earth.

    I’m not saying this country is anywhere near perfect, or necessarily deserving of all the blessings we’ve received. But there are many good things about us and our country. Yes, we have a lot. The beauty of this country is that we are given the freedom to individually choose what to do with what we have. We can give to causes we believe it, support missionaries, help neighbors, and we can choose to enjoy some of it as well. That is a heart issue between ourselves and God.

    I’ve been on several mission trips, and both my parents were MKs in 3rd world countries. What my dad has always pointed out to us when we see the staggering difference between our lifestyles and that of these people in other countries is that for the most part, these people are happy. He speaks of friends in Cuba that lived in a mud-wall, dirt floor house. They kept it neat as a pin and loved to have people over for meals. They lived simply, and they were happy. I’m not suggesting all is right in the world – there is a lot of pain as well. But, Americans see a tiny house that someone lives in and assumes that they must be miserable…because we project our expectations onto them. It just isn’t the case – they are not miserable – they are content. Again, not suggesting that people going without food or basic necessities are happy…just those who live a simpler lifestyle than we do.

    • 8.1

      says

      Thanks for sharing the insight that your dad shared with you. So many times we are guilty of projecting our expectations on others and not seeing things from another perspective.

  8. 9

    Liz says

    You must watch this. I mostly wanted you to hear the song. I don’t know the people on the video. But the lyrics to the song are haunting–Andrew Peterson is one of my favorites!
    I started writing my favorite lines from the song and realized that I had written most of the song. Enjoy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-IcGXMEVug

  9. 10

    says

    What’s cool about the hearts we have as Christians is that we can exploit the disparities that this world gives to accomplish our (God’s) purposes. So even though the world draws borders, as Christians we don’t necessarily have to recognize those borders when it comes to helping and serving because we know that God, not governments, is sovereign, and our ultimate allegiance is to the cross.

  10. 11

    says

    Deuteronomy 8:18 Sums it up…”But you shall remember the LORD your God: for it is He that gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant…”

    It’s all about the Father’s heart for people, because it’s almost impossible to pay attention to the Good News if you’re hungry and in dire need.

  11. 12

    Sheila says

    Regarding the Get Rich Slowly article: I just feel that the description of the article as being okay to buy ‘lots’ of nice things isn’t really description of what the article was talking about. It’s so interesting how different people have such different takes on things. For the most part, even the commenters weren’t advocating buying anything they could just because they could, but being careful with money so that they can spend money on things that matter to them – perhaps in being more charitable. What your commenter ‘got’ from that article was something totally different than I ‘got’. I was a commenter on that post and mentioned that being careful with money has allowed us to buy some really nice bicycles, because we live in an area where we can and do bike a lot. What I didn’t say is that being careful with money has also allowed me to sponsor two children from Compassion, provide them with birthday and family gifts, and also to be able to give money to my parish and other charities in many ways that I wasn’t able to before, when we were in debt. But to the point of your post, I, too, have wondered why this country is so wealthy. The first time I got a picture of what was purchased for one of my Compassion kids for her birthday, I sat and cried. My own daughter had just had a birthday, and I compared what she had gotten with what this other precious child of God had gotten. I don’t know the answer. Well, in some ways I do. No matter what, God is in control. When we fear or despair, it’s a lack of faith and trust in Him. What I can do in my life is manage my affairs (including money) in the best way I know. I can constantly be in study and prayer to know God’s will for my life. And then I can trust in Him. I’m not complete yet. He isn’t done with me. (Thank you, God, for not being done with me!)

  12. 13

    says

    I think that many things we generically think of as blessings (the relative ease of our lives in America and prosperity we enjoy, for example) have insidious backsides on both the personal and global level. Ease, prosperity, and comfort tend to breed entitlement, pride, and selfishness in hearts untempered by the grace and fear of God. Globally, our relative prosperity has not come without a price. Our insatiable appetite for bigger-better-faster-more has certainly had implications on lands and peoples across the world, and the influence has not been entirely good. Beyond that, I’m not convinced that our prosperity is going to last indefinitely, despite the fact that most people are living like it will.

    As far as what to do with abundance when it comes our way – I believe that we should be living lifestyles of generous, extravagant giving, regardless of where we fall on the income bracket. In seasons past, that may have looked for me like writing a check to help buy medical supplies for an impoverished community. Recently, that has looked more like keeping the employees of our business working and paying them fair wages, even when we have to get food from the food bank (and then sharing some food bank food with a friend who had even less than we). My global impact financially may be small right now, but I want to build a lifestyle of giving NOW, so that when abundance comes, giving grows naturally.

    Ultimately, Kristen, I think the cry of your heart for justice echoes the cry from the very throne and heart of God. It’s no accident that the question comes down to one thing – the glory of His name. On the surface, the disparate distribution of wealth among the nations appears to be an economic and moral issue, but there’s more to it than simply fairness or generosity. The inability of nations to care for and about one another in a meaningful way on the global level highlights the most desperate need of the human race – a King who is righteous and true, full of love and compassion, who loves to give good gifts and make us righteous and honest and loving and compassionate and all of the things that we simply are not without Him. That’s what the Gospel of the Kingdom is all about – Jesus coming to make wrong things right. And there is something *wrong* with a world where so many live in absolute poverty, and we care so little.

  13. 14

    says

    Oh Kristen, I wrote about our country being blessed today also, different take, same subject, my thoughts on the why we are blessed.

    I have followed your blog for a long time, and love it. I love the transformation God is making in you, and in turn working in those of us who read. I love that you have taken us on your journey, and I love that your journey points us right back to Him, always.

    Thank you!

  14. 15

    says

    Kristen, thank you so much for sharing my last comment in your post. I am glad it made you think, as many of your posts have made me think as well.

    Riches can certainly become a curse, but I believe that what God gives us we can accept joyfully and with thanksgiving as blessings from Him. Along with recognizing what we have as blessings, we must also accept the responsibility that comes with them. As I acknowledge God and all He has given me, I need to give of myself and all that I have (time, energy, talents, money, possessions) and ask Him, “What would you have me do with these blessings? Because I trust that when I do your will greater things will happen than when I do what I want.”

  15. 16

    says

    Why are we so blessed? It’s one of the why questions we don’t get to know the answer to right away. But as we’ve been taught…”to whom much is given much is expected”. We need to raise our expectations of ourselves and our country.

  16. 17

    says

    I agree with what you’re saying, but I also have to add that Americans per capita give more than any other nation in terms of money. Do I think money solves everything? No, and I think we should DO more rather than constantly tossing money at something. . .sometimes in hopes that the “problem” will just go away. However, I think, by and large, we need to realize that Americans are a deeply caring lot who try to help others. (That’s not to say that we should decrease our giving. . .)

      • 17.1.1

        says

        A very interesting article. Although I would have liked to see the percentage of charitable giving within our country. To be honest, my husband and I concentrate on things closer to home. Only occasionally do we donate to something we know will go to another country.

  17. 18

    rhonda says

    our minister spoke on finances this past sunday, and so this is on my mind. one of the things he said, and I paraphrase, is that the Great Commission has always taken money…it takes money (and it did in the first century as well) to send people to preach the good news of christ. America (has been) a christian nation that has experienced remarkable freedom of religion. That has been able to send missionaries and aid around the world- in some cases behind closed curtians (ie. soviet lines when the cold war was in effect, now in china and other hostile nations to the word of God) because we are able to organize HERE where we have the freedom to meet and organize and Yes, have the financial blessings to do so.

    Are we, as a country,overall, fufilling the responsiblity of those blessings? I would say not. But I would say, that there are shining examples of people (even if I dare say it- yourself) who do try to fulfill Gods call with what we are blessed with….and that is what we are called as christians to be- a Light in the midst of darkness. Whether that light is in the midst of poverty of material possessions or the poverty of material blessings.

  18. 19

    says

    Liberty is the real blessing here in America, and as it erodes so does our solvency. When individuals have the freedom to work and keep the fruit of their labor, diligence can pay off in big ways. And it takes something more than diligence to earn all you can and give it away…

    May the Lord bless your footsteps as you continue to stretch yourself for His kingdom. May He open all our eyes to see the difference one individual can make.

  19. 20

    Allison says

    My friend just returned from a trip to Bolivia with his youth group and posted a great reflection on his blog about this issue: http://thewanderingroad.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/reflection-on-bolivia/

    He makes two key statements:
    “I would guess that all of the youth would be willing to say that after getting to know the people in Bolivia and seeing how God has blessed them, that in reality, we are the ones who are dirt poor. We are the ones who are lacking in faith, in strength, in family. We just have more stuff.”
    AND
    “Yes, we have should have a great desire to give to the Bolivian church. But it should not be out of a sense of pity or guilt. And it had better not be out of a desire to make ourselves feel good about how much stuff God has given us. We need to give of our resources because we are the family of God and that’s what families do.”

  20. 21

    says

    I did something similar while in college. But we received passports. Some students were locked in a dark room. Some students were tightly packed on a balcony and given cold rice for dinner (that’s me). Some were fed baby food. Some were fed candy. And the Americans were fed a 4 course dinner. There were no rules that they couldn’t share, but it took awhile for them to know that the others had needs. The saw the candy group first (Mexico) and shared with them. We were last up on the balcony and they never thought to look for those in the room. Often American missions trips to Mexico are like feeding them candy. We hold a quickie VBS and play soccer, but don’t stay long enough to share the meat of the gospel. Asian countries where you can only talk in whispers helped me understand the underground church. We had one bowl of cold rice, but we were so quick to share with each other. And the closed countries…no one even thought to look for them. We ended the night talking about how most Christian Americans have more Bibles than they can count. And Do NOTHING About IT! I am challenged to do something with the money I have and with the gospel! Thanks for continuing to share how the Holy Spirit is touching your heart!

  21. 22

    says

    You know, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, too…because of your trip. Are there issues within their government that could use reform? Can we help to move that along? Is it agriculture? Surely we have some bright minds here in America who can help. What can we do from here to make changes there so the cycle doesn’t just keep repeating itself? I have no idea. All I know if that I should be better informed.

  22. 23

    says

    I think America is blessed so that we can pass those blessings on to others – namely, freedom. Because it is our free society that has allowed America to prosper where nations with just as many natural resources stagnate. I don’t think the Bible espouses a particular rule of government, but I do think God wants us to be free – free to worship, and free to follow our consciences as we follow Him. And I think out greatest export isn’t material goods, but the proof that people can rule themselves, that a government of the people and by the people works often better than monarchies, dictatorship, or oligarchies.

    And it is our duty towards our brothers and sisters to share our blessings with them.

    On the political side, I think personal property rights are the cornerstone to developing wealth and self sufficiency. When you have governments like in S. Africa where they just arbitrarily take land away from the farmers and give it to non farmers, or places where the soldiers can come to village and rape and plunder at any time, no one can build up anything of value.

  23. 24

    says

    Freedom and capitalism. I believe those are the biggest reasons why this country is so blessed. They inspire people to create and produce without the fear of their hard work being taken away from them. Unfortunately, taxation is now making it more difficult for small business owners to produce all the wonderful things we are now blessed with. I wouldn’t be surprised if individuals start making things for themselves more often now as inflation goes up. Family gardens and livestock, home cooking, sewing, building, etc. My husband who is a carpenter is already seeing that happen in the construction industry – people aren’t buying houses or hiring contractors to build them as much anymore – they’re doing it themselves, or doing their own remodeling projects. It’s good for people to start getting creative again, that much is encouraging, but the government sure needs some work!

  24. 25

    says

    I’ve have been having very similar thoughts going through my mind…especially since I just got done reading Radical by David Platt. This book is causing me to questions every thing I know and everything I do. I no longer want to live in a “christian bubble” when there are 26,000 children dying everyday from starvation and preventable diseases. I no longer want to buy, buy, buy. Instead I want to give, give, give.

    To the world this may seem crazy, to my country this may seem backwards or upside down. But, I think that God has a different plan for us. A plan that is more about giving Him glory, instead of ourselves…

    -Ashley

  25. 26

    says

    I have often told people that I think the people who have less really have more. Us Americans lose our focus on God. In some countries, God is all they have, and really, God is all that matters.

    I love Lindsay’s response. And like someone else said, God doesn’t bless me so I can be blessed, he blesses me so I can in turn bless others. I am a vessel for God. He doesn’t need me, but he does use me to do his work. Am I going to put down an anchor, or am I going to set sail?

    I think our hearts may beat the same, kristen.

  26. 27

    Amber says

    Thanks! This is just what I needed to hear today. I just had a conversation with an affluent friend and came away with an ugly case of the “gimmies”. We’re having a ‘lean month’, and after the conversation I started thinking, “Man . . . to be able to redecorate whenever and wherever the whim strikes. To be able to imagine projects and actually afford to put them into being, to be able to sign your kids up for whatever activities or lessons that their little hearts desire, to be able to up and go to far away places several times each year, . . . heck, I’d be happy with gas money to burn and the broken window in the kid’s bedroom replaced . . .the “envy” list went on. You see the dark place I was headed. But, thankfully, God is good at reminders. And the next thing I read was your post. Good reminder, right! Ugly gimmies, squashed! We are blessed. We have enough. We have more than enough . . . with plenty to share! Devil, you are the father of lies, you lie that I NEED and I REBUKE you in the name of Jesus —- Jesus, provider of everything I need!

  27. 28

    says

    I just started reading Radical by David Platt. I hope it will help me to figure out the answer to your question. I went with Compassion to the DR in January and grew up traveling all over (including Kenya). What I have seen in other countries makes me question everything here in America.
    I don’t know the answer. We are so blessed to have the freedom to worship freely. But what good is that if we don’t help those who aren’t so blessed? I know we do help some, but compared to what we spend on ourselves it is just a pittance.
    I don’t know the answers, all I have is more questions!
    God Bless you for starting discussions like this one.

  28. 30

    says

    I find so many of the above comments laced with political undertones and animosity toward people who don’t believe the same ways. I don’t think what makes America great has anything to do with our politics, or our leaders, or our policies (no matter which party’s stripe you wear). I think America is blessed by the simple idea that there are those who will make themselves small so that, in some way, God can become more. I think this even includes people who do not believe in God or a higher being. I’ve done medical missions with people who are not necessarily people of faith, but they chose to help because they’re in a position to help and will.

    I remember what my best friend’s mom told me once… “If something I want to buy is so expensive that the money could change someone else’s life and I would still be just as comfortable without it, I don’t need it. And they do. And if in that helping, I’m able to show or share God’s love, then I’ve done more for God’s kingdom than a silly rug could ever do for my home.”

    Matthew 25: 40 The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

    I chose to help because God calls me to help. Because I have been given so much, I too will give. And that’s blessing enough for me.

  29. 31

    says

    I wish I had the answer! I think we’d be more blessed if we were helping other countries, in America we seem to consider wealth the ultimate blessing instead of the saving power of Jesus Christ. I am struggling with this myself – we’re not ‘rich’ by American standards but we’re constantly trying to cut here and there to make sure we can give more and more. As my husband faces a new job into an industry that comes with many perks (mainly high end ones), I found myself dreaming about spa getaways and shopping sprees – but really, does any of that make me happy? NO.

  30. 32

    Lisa says

    I haven’t read through all the comments, so maybe someone else brought this up, but part of the reason we have so much is that we take. We consume the most energy, we buy goods that ared produced by people in other countries with unfair pay and working conditions, we drive willy nilly because oil is cheap, we are ravaging the environment. I think we are all incredibly short sided- the way we raise food and eat is driving up obesity and other diseases, destroying our earth. We want it now, we want it cheap, and we want it with minimal effort. How we get there and how it affects other countries, people, the earth seems to have little consequence for us.

    I have been thinking of this so much because even though I know it’s wrong, I still consume. Today I bought some water toy for my 3 kids because it was on clearance and I knew it was made in China by a worker who got paid squat and then was moved thousands of miles by consuming oil, but I thought it would keep them busy. Yesterday I bought drinks on the way home because we were hot and I didn’t have the foresight to leave something for the end of our beach day. So much of my consumption is just pure laziness and gluttony. Sins pure and simple.

    But time can’t march backwards can it? Are we supposed to live like it’s 1850 and use far less resources so we’re not taking someone else’s? I do like a good episode of Little House on the Prairie, but can I live without a run to Target to boost my mood? What would life be without easy access caffeine? dinner? entertainment? sweet tea in a disposable cup?

    Of course, what do I know? I had a sociology professor in college who said that giving every family in the world a tv would dramatically reduce the birth rate and therefore, poverty.

    I have been reading this journey of yours, Kristen, with such interest because I keep thinking any day you are going to announce something huge. Some light bulb is going to go off for you. You are going to make this huge decision. I really can’t wait to see where this leads. I wonder if I’ll be so brave.

    • 32.1

      kristen says

      Great points, Lisa. I’m so guilty of all that too. I love the convenience of America. Can I have my cake (and sweet tea) and eat it too? I can’t complain about our lack of giving when I’m a taker myself.

      I can’t describe this awakening I’ve had, it seems like this is just the beginning for me and my family and to be honest w/you, I wake up everyday and wonder if THIS IS THE DAY, I’ll find out what the next step on the crazy journey will be. It’s coming, I can feel it.

    • 32.2

      says

      I was just thinking this today as I drove by the new site for Costco, EXCITED because it was closer to my house! Then I started thinking “WOW, I have no less than 3 Costco’s within 20 miles!”. It’s all about convenience. Things in America have gotten SO convenient that we don’t have to work for it.

      Like you, Lisa, I love my trips to Target and for a coffee.

  31. 33

    says

    Hay there I am loving your journey!!! I need to mention that wealth is really not a blessing. There is a world view that thinks that having more materially is a blessing… but that is not a universally held truth!!! Have a look at the book “Material World” by Peter Menzel, there are people all over the world who have what wealthy folk might think is nothing and yet they feel rich… Interesting how wealth is relative. I consider it a blessing that we are not wealthy by American standards, because if we were wealthier I would struggle not to give my children more and it would be really hard not to indulge them. How could I resist buying them another expensive toy and another fast meal and all in all teaching them that coveting achieves an end. I don’t want my kids to think that it is their right to have more stuff, do more activities, drive in a smart car. It is their right to be loved and cared for but it is not their right to be indulged. I think more wealth can be a real hindrance to growing up to be responsible, caring adults in a world full of imbalance.

  32. 34

    says

    My understanding is that any country that protects Israel will be blessed, once that protection stops the blessings stop. America was founded on God, and the founders sought His face in setting up this country. Many people don’t want to hear that, but it is true. I believe that Americans, especially Christian Americans give a lot to missions, charity, and to aid to other countries. I have never been out of the USA, except for Canada, but from what I read it seems that the leaders of some of the poorer nations squander the people’s money. When money comes in, it may never reach them or only certain people get good paying jobs like in India. The Cast System is huge in India and it does affect the poverty of the nation. I don’t know the answers, but I know that the compared to many in America our family is low income, yet we always have just enough. We do not squander our money and though we have a little we still give willingly. I think that may the very heart of it, people in America are givers, at least those I know. Sorry for the ramble, I hope you can make some sense of it. It is a good question to ponder, though I don’t believe that satan is ‘blessing’ us. Honestly satan is not about blessings, he is about curses.

  33. 35

    Kysia says

    This discussion reminds me of scripture from Luke 16:10-11 which states, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” The wealth we are given in our country is a resource and we are stewards of God. Being a wise steward includes taking care of God’s children and creation. God does want good for us, but He also recognizes our frivolous distractions are often wedges between our relationship with him. I do not know why we have it so good here. It’s a pondering quesiton. I laugh at my husband who takes pictures of latrines on mission trips. He says he does it because it humbles him to remember how nice our luxuries are here and how much more work we have to do. I love American conveniences, but nothing is more impacting on me when I choose to sacrifice one of those conveniences for a better cause.

  34. 36

    says

    I believe that while we may be materialistically blessed, other people are blessed with a peace that we will never know here in America. While we strive for more and more….better and better, it seems to me that other people have faith that we will never know.

    Truly, who is “more blessed”, people with wealth and things or people with peace and faith that we cannot even understand?

  35. 39

    Valley Girl says

    This is a great discussion thread and certainly several compelling thoughts have been expresed. I don’t have the answer, but I rely on the understanding that I don’t know what God knows, and the way that I may never understand real or perceived injustice while on Earth.

    One thought that I had is that even our view that America is “blessed” is shortsighted – in the scope of history we (the U.S) are a baby country! The U.S. has been here for such a short period of time when compared to other nations/civilations. Did the Roman Empire, once the most vast and powerful empires, ever foresee that it would not be? It is not a given that the U.S. will always be in the seemingly “blessed” position it is now.

    Also, as to the comments of our country being founded on Christian values, by Christian men … I take a little exception to that. At the time that our country was founded women could not vote (and couldn’t until 1920!) and many of our nation’s early leaders were slave owners. I find it troubling to throw out a blanket “we started as a Christian nation and now we have strayed too far from that” statement when history reflects that in our nation’s supposed more Christian times there was immense inequality and cruelty.

  36. 40

    says

    Oh, where to even begin. I’ve thought so much about this topic. Kristen, you know I share you heart for Africa. Each time I go, I face the poverty, the hurt. Each time, I am reminded of this question- battling so many emotions, one of them guilt. But why should I feel guilty that God chose for me to be born in this country? The guilt should only sink in when I’m not using what He’s given me to show His love to others. After all, I am only a steward of what is rightfully HIS. He allowed me to be born here, to grow up in a free country, a loving and supportive church, and Christian family… so that I might be prepared to make His name known among the nations. What a responsibility! Oh, I could go on and on. I cannot do ANY of this on my own strength. That, too, must come from Him. Because I am selfish. I am wicked. I am flesh. I am a sinner.

    But HE. He is great. He is grace. He is ABLE.

    ABLE to use a sinner like me.

    and wow. That’s something.

    ps- I want to know how things turn out with you and God and Africa. :)

  37. 41

    says

    John Wesley (founder of the Methodist Church) said that we should make as much money as we can, live on as little as possible, and give the rest away.

    We HAVE been blessed with wealth. I don’t know why, but we have. It’s up to us to use that wealth to make an impact on others.The early church did this. I was reading the other day in the Bible about a man and his wife who sold property. They kept some of the money for themselves before giving the rest to the church. They told the church that they were giving the full proceeds of the sale. They were immediately struck dead because they held back. The point was, the money that they kept for themselves was money that was not being used to help others that needed it.

    Could you imagine what would happen if God did that to us today? If he struck everyone dead for holding out on the church? I think that would definitely solve over-population issues in some areas. =D Seriously, though, I think that being blessed with wealth creates more responsibility to use the wealth in a way that benefits more than just yourself. That’s the way the early churches lived, and that’s the way it should be.

  38. 42

    says

    Maybe its not a blessing, maybe its a curse…because of our wealth we have way more [forms of] idolatry. It is harder for the rich man to get into heaven, and according to statistics if you make over 35,000 a year you are in the top 4% of wealthy people in the world! Top 4%! I think it goes on to say if you make more than 70,000 a year you are in the top 2%. ~ http://www.globalrichlist.com/

    What does this tell us? Its gonna be harder for us to get into heaven. We are considered rich. The majority of the worlds population is poor. We need a world view.

    Plenty of people to share God’s ‘blessing’ with…and show the love of Jesus.

  39. 43

    says

    My husband has recieced one of those Bibles wjem je was in Iraq the second time. I do not think we realize that some of these men forget there Bibles or maybe have never gotten one. Or in my husbands case he worked with Iraqi soldiers who were interested in one. He could not give him one but he could leave it laying in front of him and if it disappeared it was not his fault

  40. 44

    Rebecca says

    America has always been blessed and protected by God for the nations’s stand with Israel. (I only saw 1 comment that touched on this and was surprised that more didn’t say it). God blesses the nation that loves and protects His chosen people, Israel. The people of this nation have dirtied God’s blessings, with their greed, selfishness, and their constant pursuit of more, more, more. The President and those in charge now have come out harshly against Israel and do not back Israel as we have in the past. This nation is in a precarious state, with the recession and talk of a double recession in the news (I don’t believe everything I hear in the news but just saying). We are still the richest nation on Earth but times may be changing if America turns their back to Israel or worse yet, sides with opposing nations. That is a very scary and dangerous place to be in.

  41. 45

    says

    America is the most generous nation on earth. In our great wealth, we also give. Imagine the state of Africa without the continuous aid of the USA. Many of the problems in these countries come from corrupt governments which swoop in, steal the aid, sell it, buy weaponry and use those weapons against their own people. You can only give what you have, so in order to give much, you must first have much. We don’t live in a zero-sum world, where if a dollar is taken from our society it appears in another. God expects great things from us, and in this great country many have answered that call. I will not feel guilty living in a country that has done some much to advance the global human condition, and which always stands in the gap for those who are rocked with disease and natural disasters.
    My fear is that we begin to place the emphasis on the country … collectively, forcing the country, as a whole, into “giving” by taking from the citizens against their will, and ultimately robbing us of the right and the ability to give freely of our own blessings. God will not judge us by our nation. If were the case, the Chinese Christian would have no hope because her nation denounces Christ. We will be judged by our individual choice to give and serve. Not everyone will do all they can, but that injustice will be dealt with, by God. We should be thankful for all we’ve been given, and use it to advance the Kingdom of God, not reject it, in a pious and arrogant spirit, as though we are too holy to have blessings.

  42. 47

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