Tough Economic Times
Given tough economics times and Wall Street’s screaming roller coaster ride, what ought Christians to do?
There is certainly a biblical injunction that we discern the times. God calls us to do this, however, not so we will know the right move to make at the right time, but so that we will remember what the right move always was. Circumstances don’t change our calling, though they can wake us up to our calling. Such is the case here.
Christians should do what Christians are always called to do. First, we should be looking to our own sin. Why is it that Christians are up in arms politically during a time of shocking deficits, high unemployment and a moribund real estate market, but have been comparatively content over almost forty years of abortion on demand? What does that say about us and our priorities?
The obvious answer is this- money is an idol to us. We think because money seems to be even more important to Gordon Gekko, or Donald Trump, that we are therefore free from seeing it as an idol. We think that having less than somebody else is proof we’re not greedy. But when what we have, whether large or small, is threatened by hard times we find out what a priority wealth is to us.
Money becomes an idol less when we simply want more, and more when we look to it as God. To the Gordon Gekkos of the world, money is their reason for being, and in that way is a god. To us, however, it is our security, and therefore is a god.
It is a good and wise thing to consume less than you produce, to save and invest. And it hurts when our savings take a hit from inflation, and our investments suddenly drop in value. But in good times and bad we are to remember that Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” When James warns us against thinking we can simply plan our future profits- “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow (James 4: 13-14) he is not only talking about travel plans. A perfectly fitting application in our day might be, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will invest in our 401k, buy and sell, and make a profit.’” Sufficient unto the day is the bread thereunto. And He is our provider, not Morgan Stanley.
What we need to do then is to ask God to provide for us, and to trust that He will. His provision may not match our daydreams. It may not match what we think of as normal. But He will provide. What we need to do is to not spend more than we make. What we need to do is pay, joyfully, our tithes, if only as a confession that we do indeed trust Him to provide our daily bread. What we need to do is to love our neighbor, not ask the state to tax him to finance our plans. What we need to do is go to bed confident that we are living a godly life, while praying for the peace of Babylon. What we need to do is what we have always needed to do.
God is, as always, sending judgment to a nation that thinks it can forget Him, that thinks it can borrow its way to prosperity. That judgment will touch and is touching our lives. But we are safe in the palm of the scarred hand of Jesus. His wrath is not aimed at us for that was spent 2000 years ago. Whatever is coming it will not undo His promises to us. Invest in the gold streets of the New Heavens and the New Earth, where neither rust, nor moth nor thieves, not politicians can enter. Not only is it the safest investment you can make, but it will also have the greatest return.