The most powerful nation on earth -- not necessarily the richest, certainly not the most righteous, must be the United States. During the Cold War, the First World was pitted against the Second World (the Communist Bloc) in competition for the Third World (the developing nations). Since the collapse of the Second World -- and even Communist China is undergoing a gradual process of transformation into a free-market economy -- and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the role of the US is uncontested. Politically, technologically, financially and socially, the US has taken the lead in so many spheres.

The Bible says it over and over again, in so many words: to whom much has been entrusted, from him much will be expected. The responsibility in God's eyes is greater for individuals, and presumably nations, who have been given much, than for those who have been given little. Per capita GDP is approximately $35,000, or 100x as much as the GDP of Bangladesh, as we saw last week (Source: The Economist, 2003). The economic duty of the US -- which at present is in decline vis-à-vis giving to charity, is surely higher than that of any other nation. Yet the nation gives less and less, and its personal debt level is at an all-time high. It can well be argued that consumerism is the true religion of this nation.

Yet 84% of the US population claims to be Christian (Source: Operation World). With approximately 40% of its citizens attending church every week, how will God judge the nation/people who claim to follow him and his word? Once again, the moral obligations of the US are enormous.

In so many ways the church of Christ has allowed itself to be influenced by the world, and to pattern itself on the world: in its moral values, financial giving, individualism, and political views, to mention only a few areas. Some believers are unable to distinguish Christian culture from American culture, long having assumed they are one and the same. Yet this is a classical biblical mistake, as the O.T. prophets frequently lament.

Pray for this nation, which is so well positioned to be the economic and spiritual breadbasket for the world. Let us as disciples remember our mission: to preach the good news and to help the poor. All the more so if we happen to live in the United States.

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