Question: How Does Startling Economic News Impact Your Spiritual Life?

dollarYou’ve seen the news.  Apparently, this economy is in a real crisis.  No doubt, you are watching, along with the rest of us, as those in Washington seek to formulate a plan to help this economy.  The proposal by Treasury Secretary Paulson will cost $700 billion dollars.  This week, Washington is trying to come to some kind of agreement on what exactly will be the government’s response to what is apparently a very urgent situation.

 

I mention all of this not because I want to start a discussion about the economy.  Nor do I wish to start a discussion about the political implications of this.  Rather, this is a place to talk about the spiritual implications of this for those of us who are Christ-followers.

 

The question I want to raise, however, is an important one for anyone who is serious about being shaped and formed into the image of Jesus:

 

How does startling economic news impact your spiritual life?

 

Do I respond to this by living in a state of anxiety?  Do I just close my eyes, shrug my shoulders and say, "Oh well."  Or, do I spend time in solitude, bringing this concern before the Lord?  What do I pray about?  What feelings begin to surface in me as I hear so much talk about economic uncertainty?  How can God use such feelings to more fully shape me into a God-dependent person?  In other words, do I see this as an opportunity for me to learn to depend less on myself and more on God?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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22 thoughts on “Question: How Does Startling Economic News Impact Your Spiritual Life?

  1. Even if we resist the urge to panic, there is still an underlying stress, a pressurized insecurity that I find difficult to avoid. Funny thing is, Jesus seems to indicate that our wealth and material
    security is always as tenuous and unreliable as it seems to be for us
    now, in this current economic crisis. He warns us that even when we
    think we are set for life in a single moment, just a heartbeat, it can
    all be gone, or we may be gone. Either way, we better find something
    more substantial to stand upon in changing times.

  2. Drew,Very good.  I like the way you put this regardging "…an underlying stress, a pressurized insecurity…."   Thanks for bringing Jesus’ words into this.  He does indicate that "…our wealth and material security is always as tenuous and unreliable as it seems to be for us now…"It will be interesting to see how those of us as Christ-followers (myself included in this) will respond.  Will this be a time in which we can look back and see how God use this to form us into a dependant, Christ-like people?

  3. I suppose it’s like any other startling news. First I am startled, then I begin to let it sink in, then I do a combination of things… that kind of looks like a dance of panic and trust. Just being honest.

  4. L.L.– I really like the way you describe this.  "…a dance of panic and trust."  I relate to this very much.  Your words describe a life of messy faith in a messy world where God is the only certainty.  Thanks for your comment.

  5. Seems like an opportune time for preachers to command those who are rich in this world to not be high minded, nor to trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God.  I really think that’s what Jesus would be talking about this weekend.

  6. In rereading "The Importance of Being Foolish" by Brennan Manning this week,  I was struck by a paragraph containing this phrase:  "1969 seemed a very good year to die to all the values, attitudes , and behavior patterns that were not of Christ Jesus."  Perhaps 2008, with its economic insecurity, is a very good year to die to the reliance on wealth (in whatever measure we may have obtained it) and to learn to truly rely on God for our security?
     
    Later on in the same chapter, Manning goes on to remind the reader of Jesus’ compassion.  We may, in the coming months, see Christians who are in various states of mind and circumstance related to their economic situation.  Rather than looking down on them for not "having the mind of Christ," I think we are called to compassion.  Another sentence from Manning’s book puts it like this:  "Behind people’s grumpiest poses or most puzzling defense mechanisms, behind their dignified airs, coarseness, or sneers, behind their silence or their curses, Jesus saw a little child who hadn’t been loved enough…"  The difficult times our country is facing may bring out a lot of little children who haven’t been loved enough.

  7. You’ve asked a penetrating question, Jim.   Even among the many Christian bloggers who are addressing the ecomonic meltdown there is little focus on how to walk with Christ and glorify God in the midst of the looming financial crisis.  For me, I’m taking refuge in the promise of Hebrews 13:5-6.  A friend of mine this week reminded me of Habakkuk 3:17 as well.  I agree with FrankB that there needs to be a prophetic voice in the pulpit this weekend, and 1 Timothy 6:5-10 would be a good place to start for me and my listeners.

  8. The current situation certainly exposes places in my life where I’ve trusted the economy, the stock market, the banks, my mortgagte, my ability to earn some $$$…and I need to call it what it is: self-sufficiency and idolatry. Sin.
    Many have the sense that we’re standing on the edge of a kind of life we can’t even begin to imagine. Repentance will ready us in ways that phone calls to brokers never can.
    May we surrender well to what God is doing in the midst of this time.

  9. Lots of wisdom in both the question and in the responses.  I find most to agree with in Michelle’s comment.
    As you know this last year has been one of serious upheaval and loss in our home.  I can tell you with complete assurance though, that God is here and He is working. 
    I don’t know how (nor do any of us) God will work this out for each of His children, but we are assured that He will.  I too do that dance of trust and panic…but the panicky periods are much less intense and much shorter than they were at the beginning of the year…I don’t know if its exhaustion or trust, but either way, I am grateful for it.
    Iain

  10. Frank B.A very good thought.  I do not know any better admonition for all of us than to be reminded to not trust in our finances but to trust in God.  Thank you. 

  11. Connie,What great quotes!  I will keep these.  I need to read this work. Thanks again so much for including such thoughtful quotes from a great writer.

  12. Michelle,Very good.  So often what happens in our lives either affirms the way Christ is being formed in our lives or (as you say so well) exposes our idols, sins, etc.  Perhaps one blessing out of this is that we will more clearly see what stands in the way of a Christ-formed life.  I certainly need this.

  13. Iain,It is good to hear from you and to hear your affirmation of the faithfulness of God through it all.  Good for us all to hear, especially from one who has been going through tough days.

  14. I think these uncertain times provide us with the opportunity to put our actions, trust, etc. where our mouths have been when we’ve talked to others about faith. It’s a lot easier to talk about security when you feel secure. It has certainly caused me to evaluate really where my faith and confidence is. My 30 year old son has been a beautiful example of faith to me this week. His company has been bought out and his status with them is unknown. He said, "I’m just not going to worry about anything. If I loose my job, I’ll look for another and I’ll deal with that when the time comes." So, here’s a young man with a wife and two young children who witnessed his faith to his mother this week. I’m trying to take my cues from him.
     
     

  15. Startling times bring a sense of panic, because our lives are involved in many things of a material nature. They have influence on our lives, because we allow them. We fill the gaps of anxiety and turmoil with stuff instead of the faith in the Father.In our house, we ask what our children would think if they see us worry? We teach them faith in God but to we practice it? Jsut my thoughts.

  16. It’s late and I didn’t read all the responses, so this may be a repeat, but I figure since there’s just about nothing I can do about this situation, there’s not much need in worrying about it. I’m fairly confident when the politicians get done "fixing" it, things will be worse than before. It has helped me refocus on trusting Jesus and coming to grips with the real possibility that all the "things" of my life can very quickly and easily be taken from me. What remains will be relationships. 

  17. Chris–Good comment.  I like what you said regarding your children.  You are right, it is good to ask about our children and in particular what we might be forming as they witness our lives.

  18. Greg– You are so right!  In the end, what remains is our relationships and what we invested in them.  Thanks!

  19. I have been married for 22 years. In that time, I have for the most part been a stay-at-home mother. My husband and I made a committment to the children rather than to our bank account.
    We have had times of plenty and we have had times when we were unsure whether we could afford any groceries at all. During all those times, the Lord has provided for our needs.  
    Those times when we had plenty have definitely served to "spoil" us, until we remember that God gives us money for use, not to hoard or spend on our "me" things. At many times when things were extremely tight finacially, certain pressing needs would come to the fore with one or all of the children which required a sacrifice of money we really could have used another way, but which was directed toward the child’s need.
    At these times, God was showing us why he has given us money, how to direct it, and how truly fleeting wealth really is.
    When I hear of financial woes in Washington, my response is, "Well, what’s new?" While it may have been an embarrassment to me at church and elsewhere for my family to not be wearing the latest styles or that we did not live in the "nice" part of town, perhaps one advantage for us is that we will have had experience with what it means to go without.
    Wendy