The increasing demand and the beginning of an irreversible decline in world oil production means that the era of cheap energy and cheap food is over. Prices for oil, gasoline and natural gas can be expected to trend ever upward as demand for energy outstrips the supplies.
The 20th-century agricultural revolution was fueled by oil—to run farm equipment, to transport agricultural products and to make pesticides and fertilizers. As prices for fuel and chemicals rise, food prices will also rise.
The pressures of suburban sprawl, soil loss, pollution and climate change are only going to compound the problem. World food prices are already rising and can be expected to continue to go up.
Whether this is another signal of the approach of Christ's return or just another chapter in the long saga of human suffering, how should we as Christians react?
The two great commandments are to love God and to love our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39). Let's use the time God gives us to draw close to God and get ready spiritually and physically for hard times (Romans 13:11-13). Proverbs 22:3 tells us that it's wise to take preventative measures before trouble comes upon us.
Knowing that home heating, gasoline and products transported over long distances will be much more expensive, we can make the choice to start using less. We don't have to be caught unprepared. The simpler our lives, the better prepared we will be to serve others.
Love must be proved in action, and our willingness to love others will be put to the test.
"If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead" (James 2:15-17).
Paul urged the Philippians to show a deep concern for the welfare of others:
"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4).
The Christian duty to act compassionately is clear.
"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:9-10).