You can’t turn on the television or fire up an internet home page on Yahoo, Google or some other place without getting a face full of “Government Bail Out.” It’s almost more prevalent than Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. Now, I’m not an economist, so I don’t fully understand what needs to be bailed out. And I’m not a politician, so I don’t fully understand what the government plans to do about it. But, I am a house owning, debt paying off, job working, family raising American who begins to get a little worried when I hear things like “Biggest crisis since the 1930’s” and “Reminiscent of the Great Depression.”
At the same time, I’m a Christian. Should I face this financial fallout with a Chicken Little attitude? Or should I take another approach? I’d like to share three keys, I think we as Christians need to keep in mind as we hear all this news and begin to get our fears and worries up.
- Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (cf. Matthew 6:33): Yes, that still applies during an economic recession. It still applies even in a depression. No, God didn’t promise we would live in a nice house, drive nice cars and wear nice clothes. But He did promise to take care of us if we sought His kingdom and righteousness first. We need to remember that stocks, bonds, insurance plans and savings accounts will not take care of us in the long run. God can and will if He is our priority. No, that doesn’t mean throw financial caution to the wind, running up debt, wasting money and then expecting God to bail us out (our government’s example notwithstanding). It simply means make serving God a priority, even if you think it will cost you money and God will take care of you.
- Take it one day at a time (cf. Matthew 5:34): Let tomorrow worry about itself, Jesus said. We need to simply face today. You know what, the economy may come crashing down next Monday. But it hasn’t crashed yet today. Next Monday may be really rotten. It may be the most horrible day of our lives. Who knows? But today is not so bad. We’ve eaten today. We’re still able to access our internet today. We are living in our home today. Let’s not make today rotten by focusing on how rotten it might be next week. No, as with our last point, this doesn’t mean throw caution to the wind and live recklessly today trying to capture fun in the sun while it lasts. That is just as much letting today be dominated by tomorrow as the fearmongering approach. Rather, live wisely today. Make wise choices with your money and material blessings today. Don’t do it out of a sense of control as if you can somehow make sure that next Monday is not rotten if the economy turns south and we run into a Great Depression and it becomes so bad we are like a third world country. But simply live wisely today and rejoice in today’s blessings. Don’t let today’s blessings turn sour in your mouth because you are worried about what might happen next week. Just take it one day at a time.
- Share (cf. II Corinthians 8-9; Hebrews 13:16): This is the hard one. Financial ruin looms around the corner. Our natural reaction is to hoard. If I don’t take care of me, who will? I need to look out for #1. We need to remember instead that sharing on an individual level is how God expects us to take care of each other, not government bailouts. When times are good, we need to share those blessings. When times are bad, we need to share what blessings we have. I think of the story that I’m sure I read in one of those “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books of “The Poor Family in our Church.” As the story is told in first person–
The preacher had announced that he had learned about a poor family in the congregation and wanted the church to do something good for them. On the following Sunday, they would take a special collection for this poor family. Our family took it very seriously. We knew we didn’t have much, but we wanted to help out the poor family. So, we made some sacrifices. We cut and scraped. Mama bought cheaper meat for supper. Daddy put some of his overtime money in. The kids cut some neighbors’ yards. By Saturday, we had scraped together $20. (This obviously took place several years ago.) On Sunday, we were so proud we all sat up on the second pew. We were beaming as Daddy dropped in the $20 bill. We knew there were so many better off than we were and they would do so much more. But we had done what we could. That afternoon, the preacher knocked on our door and handed Daddy an envelope, saying he hoped we would accept this gift with the love he had intended it. The preacher was smiling as he left. Daddy slowly opened the envelope. $25 fell out.–
The sad fact is, it is often those who have the least to share that are the most generous. We as Christians need to share. Whatever we face in the future, we need to remember that the blessings God has given us are meant to be spread around, not hoarded.
Hey, I don’t know what’s going to happen in America’s financial future. Frankly, I have the feeling that sooner or later, we’re going to have to pay the piper. Band-aids like government bailouts won’t fix the problems. They will only postpone the inevitable. But God has shown how we should act no matter what comes our way financially. Let’s quit facing this like Republicans or Democrats and start facing it like Christians.