Everywhere we look today we see or hear about the world economic slowdown. It is all over the TV, the radio, the newspapers and most importantly on our minds. We continually see reports of the world’s financial markets plunging and each day seems to set a new record for losses in a single day. We hear stories of people drowning in personal debt, potential and confirmed job layoffs and mortgage foreclosures that leave many families worried as we enter into the Christmas season.
There are and will continue to be many discussions related to what is happening. How much worse will it get? Who is to blame – is it the fault of the banks, the CEO’s, the unions, the government or the individual? How should we solve this global financial crisis – is it with bailouts, deficit spending, government stimulus packages or through tax cuts?
With all the uncertainty the world is facing it is as wise as ever to seek what God has to say to us during these uncertain times.
On many different occasions Jesus spoke about what a healthy and proper attitude towards money looks like. One such passage is in Matthew chapter 6 beginning in verse 19 until the end of the chapter. Here Jesus says to us,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal [or where stock markets crash]. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal [and markets don’t fluctuate based on the price of a barrel of oil]. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Jesus calls us to look at the bigger picture, to see things from His perspective. He reminds us that what the world values is only temporary and will eventually disappear since we can’t take it with us. So instead of spending our time accumulating worldly treasures the truly wise investment is to be found in what God values.
It is important for us to keep that viewpoint in mind, especially if you are concerned about your stock portfolio. But what if that stock portfolio is meant to care for you during your retirement? Or what if your job and therefore the means of supporting your family is in jeopardy? How are we to live then?
This is a crucial question. For many of us don’t need a $5 million dollar home with a bank account to match to be content in life. In fact the way the economy is right now we would probably be satisfied to know that our heads are above water.
Thankfully Jesus understands this and in the remaining verses of chapter six He addresses this concern:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” [emphasis added.]
Jesus tells us that we don’t need to worry because the source of what we need to live is God Himself. The one who loves us so much that He did not even spare His own Son. If there is anything we are to learn from the uncertainty found in the world today it is that our security is not found in our jobs, our bank account, or our retirement plans. But maybe the anxiety we are currently experiencing is a result of us placing our hope somewhere other than God.
So if we are not to worry, then what is to be our attitude? In verse 33 Jesus provides us with the answer, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Jesus is not saying that we are to ignore the pressures of the world, but rather we are to look to Jesus to be our joy and peace and He will provide all that we need. So how do we do that practically?
First, surrender everything you possess into the faithful, loving hands of God. Jack Taylor is his book ‘God’s Miraculous Plan of Economy’ suggests that you make a list of every asset that you have – your house, bank accounts, spouse, children, jobs, friends, talents, abilities – everything. Then write in big letters across the list, ‘NONE MINE, ALL HIS’. This act of total surrender will leave you with only one thing to hold onto – Jesus. This is crucial, for where your treasure is there is also your heart and by surrendering to Him we are seeking His kingdom and His righteousness.
And second, trust God as your source for everything you require and not yourself, man or this world. Now that we are only trusting in Jesus to provide and care for us we allow Him to freely give to us all that we need.
Now God may choose to supply our needs by providing for what we need through a job. But if we lose our job we have not lost the source of our provision. Instead it only means that God will provide the food, shelter and clothing that we require another way. He may provide another job, or help from friends, family and your church. He has even been known to send food from heaven on a daily basis.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
From The CrossBeam, Nov 2008 Vol 3, Issue 4, Used with permission.
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