In contrast to other continents, Europe as a whole is very wealthy. Some of the countries in Europe are the wealthiest in the world, with the European Union being the largest economy in the world with a GDP of $18.5 trillion (USA is $14 trillion).
- Luxemborg has 2nd highest per capita GDP – $81,000
- Norway is 4th – $52,000 per capita GDP
- Switzerland is 9th – $41,950 per capita GDP
- Netherlands is 10th – $40,973 per capita GDP
- Austria is 12th – $39,761 per capita GDP
- Ireland is 13th – $39,492 per capita GDP
Unfortunately, as the Bible teaches, money creates a false sense of security of not needing anything or anyone including God.
- The desire for riches is a snare that brings destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
- The rich can very easily get prideful and trust in their riches instead of God. 1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
- Jesus taught that it was hard for rich men to be saved. Matthew 19:23-25 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
- The rich, prideful scribes constantly doubted and questions Jesus, but the common (ordinary) people heard His gladly. Mark 12:37 …And the common people heard him gladly.
In Europe, it can be very frustrating, because often people cannot even understand why they need God. They seem “religion” as irrelevant and church for poor, unenlightened people. They see it as a crutch that they no longer need. They have their home, their car, their socialized medecine, and their universities. Why would they need God? Their wealth and stuff makes them things they are okay. (Until, they go through something that money can’t solve!)
Even though materialism is a challenge in Europe, consider the following things:
- Even in poorer countries, materialism and the things of this world can be a false god. Sometimes the less a person has, the more covetous they are.
- Riches may make people more resistant to the humility necessary for salvation, but if they get do saved, they can use the resources God has entrusted them with to get the gospel around the world.
- Even though it may be impossible for us to convince the rich (or anyone for that matter) to be saved, with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
- God has a way of humbling the proud and breaking people of their sense of security. We can know that God by His Holy Spirit will work in hearts and convict even the proudest, wealthiest of men of their sin.
- Even the rich of the world deserve a chance to hear the gospel. We do not necessarily go because they will hear; we go because we have been commanded to preach the gospel to every creature, so at least they have a chance to believe.
Stay tuned for more…