Most brush fires are small and manageable. But an unexpected gust of wind can quickly turn a small brush fire into a raging forest fire—especially if conditions are dry.
These natural infernos can burn hundreds of thousands or even millions of acres. Forest fires can reach temperatures of nearly 1,500 degrees and move at speeds of more than 12 miles per hour. They are unpredictable and often move in surprising directions.
Today's global economy has similarities to these fires of nature. Numerous economic brush fires exist around the world. Unexpected gusts could quickly fan the flames into wildfires of recession, or even worse.
Gusts could come from a variety of political, military, social or economic directions. A forest fire in one part of the world could spread to other countries and continents quickly. Current economic brushfires include:
- Brazil. An economic powerhouse of South America is in a recession, has seen bond yields explode, their currency hit a record low against the U.S. dollar and their stock market is collapsing.
- China. The September Purchasing Managers' manufacturing index (PMI) fell to the lowest levels in more than six years, the Shanghai Composite stock index has fallen close to 40 percent, and the economy is slowing.
- Germany. The economic powerhouse of Europe is plagued by the Volkswagen scandal, falling consumer outlook, a stock market that is nearly 20 percent off its highs and the Deutsche Bank that is laying off nearly 25 percent of its workforce.
- United States. Consumer confidence is falling, durable goods orders are weak, the Dow Jones Industrial index is down about 2,000 points from this year's highs, household incomes are falling, and poverty rates are increasing.
Other brush fires include Japan, Southern Europe, Russia, Britain, the Middle East, South America and Europe's refugee crisis. Will current economic brush fires grow into wildfires? Only God knows. But we should not worry because we have a better hope.
In the kingdom, we have promises, assurances and a provider who just happens to be the Creator of the universe. His resources are not limited by the economy. He is willing to help His children. As citizens of the kingdom, we have the infallible promises of the Word of God and have His Spirit inside of us. Whether the economy is booming or depressed, sufficient resources will always be available to do all that He has called us to do.
"But my God shall supply your every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).
These are the last days. The world will have difficulties. But these difficulties will be marked with the opportunity for us to be a light on a hill. We can demonstrate peace in a world of turmoil, abundance in a time of lack, hope during despair and love in a world of hate. The contrast between light and darkness has never been greater. This is a time of harvest; a time to glorify our Lord and make disciples. As we seek our King first and His righteousness, we need have no worry about our needs.
"Know this: In the last days perilous times will come" (2 Tim. 3:1).
"Therefore, take no thought, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (For the Gentiles seek after all these things.) For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you" (Matt. 6:31-33).
Dr. James R. Russell is professor of economics and chair of the Undergraduate College of Business at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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