The Federal Reserve reported that the total net worth of U. S. households and nonprofit organizations hit $100.8 trillion (by far the highest in the world). Assuming a U. S. population of 326.8 million and 1.5 million nonprofit organizations, the average net worth is more than $300,000 per individual/nonprofit organization. The U. S. is highly blessed relatively to most of the world.
If we compare U. S. median disposable income (gross incomes plus transfer payments such as welfare minus taxes) we reach the same conclusion. A Mises Institute article penned by Ryan McMaken, found that many U.S. states have higher median disposable incomes than most European countries. McMaken used median disposable income adjusted by purchasing power parity (the recommended technique for making international comparisons).
Germany has the largest economy in Europe with a 2017 GDP of 3.263 billion euros, followed by Britain (3.234 billion), France (2.288 billion), and Italy (1.717 billion). In McMaken's study, thirty-nine U. S. states had higher median disposable incomes than Germany. Income is not the only measure of prosperity, but using it, Germany would be a poor state if located in the U.S. Maryland's disposable income of $43,618 was higher than any European country. The United States has been blessed.
The election of Donald Trump, with his policies, has upset (or possibly delayed) the globalists agenda. While premature to tell the long-term impacts, dramatic changes in the international environment are evident. A few of the more important global blessings, opportunities, and challenges are listed below.
- Trump-Kim summit. The first time a U.S. president has met with a North Korean leader. Cautious hope is held by many, but the long-term resolution is not yet known.
- International Trade. U.S. tariffs have been imposed on steel and aluminum imports, which recently include Europe, Canada and Mexico. An additional $500 billion in tariffs against China is threatened, with the Chinese threatening retaliatory measures. The era of one-way free trade with the United States appears to be over.
- Cancellation of the Iran agreement. Nullifying the agreement had the support of any many middle-eastern countries but was not supported by others. U.S. sanctions will hurt European companies heavily invested in Iran which will further stress European relations.
- Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The move is intellectually honest and biblically sound. Expect the U. S. to be blessed by the move, but there is much global opposition.
- Nationalist movements. The election of the first truly nationalist U.S. president since Andrew Jackson has spurred nationalistic movements around the world. In Europe alone, there are nationalistic movements in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, and Sweden.
Modern transportation, computing, and telecommunications technologies have shrunk the world. Most people can talk with a person 10,000 miles away as easily as the person next door. Facebook has more than 2 billion users, nearly 30 percent of world population and at least half of the 16+ age population. News on a global scale is available almost instantaneously — often with real-time video. These are truly global times.
All Christians have global responsibilities. Believers are called to make disciples of all nations, baptize, teach and witness to the remotest part of the world. In today's culture, too many Christians tend to focus on themselves, their families, or city, to the exclusion of the world. However, the early church thought differently. It has been estimated that from the 120 believers at Pentecost, the number of Christians grew to 40,000 by 150 AD, to 318,000 by 200 AD, and to 1,170,000 by 250 AD. Global evangelism and discipling grew the church from a local phenomenon to a global-wide church that has truly changed the world.
When the Lord gave us the great commission, he prefaced it by indicating that all authority had been given him in heaven and earth. He obtained that authority by His obedience to the Father and ultimately with His life on the cross. His command of go, make, baptize, and teach was paid for by His blood. We should listen and obey.
"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,'" Matthew 28:19-20, NASB.
One of Jesus' last statements to His disciples, before returning to the Father, was to wait. Specifically, they were to wait for power when the Holy Spirit would come upon them. The disciples were told to witness locally, regionally, internationally, and even to the remotest part of the world. We have the same responsibility.
"but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth," Acts 1:8, NASB.
As Christians, we dare not avoid our global responsibilities in the body of Christ. In today's environment, we can reach out globally through a number of avenues — some of which are listed below.
- Pray for and support ministries located in different parts of the world.
- Support/send missionaries to the remotest part of the earth.
- Use social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to witness.
- Disciple international students.
- Pray for and support global evangelism
- Encourage your church to expand its focus more globally.
- If called, leave for the mission field.
Jesus taught that one of the last signs of His coming would be when the gospel is preached in all the world. We have a responsibility. we have the means. We have been charged. Let us respond to the charge with vigor as we diligently seek the Lord's wisdom and power to carry His message to the world.
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come," Matthew 24:14, NASB.
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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