Hope In These Troubled Financial Times

One21music is dedicated to introducing you to the full spectrum of Christian music.  In our minds, that is music made by believers written from a viewpoint of hope and faith.  We are doing this so that you can experience great, non formulaic music that expresses how we, as believers, live our lives in this world.

This article has nothing to do with music, but it does relate to how we live our lives as believers.  Over the next few weeks I am going to take you through a recipe for dealing with today’s troubling financial times.

This past Monday, February, 23, 2009,  the Dow Jones stock market index closed at $7,100, the lowest level in 31 years!  A long, frightening period of economic retrenchment faces us and if we are not unemployed, we anticipate being laid-off any day.   For most of us, our retirement savings have been wiped out and there is no safety net. Fear pervades believers and non-believers alike.

We, as believers, keep a stiff upper lip and profess to put our confidence in God.  But I suspect that many of us put confidence in God’s willingness to protect our lifestyle and “provide”.  I believe this is a recipe for continued fear and disappointment.  Admit it, when you pay your credit card bill, sometimes you have a knot in your stomach.  Haven’t you ever looked at your savings and wondered “how you will make it”.

We can be fearless in times like these.  If we put our hope in Christ and Christ alone we can walk through these days with joy in our heart.  But it is not easy.  In reality, it is the most frightening thing we can do.

Matthew 6:25-29 tells us to look at the birds of the air and the lillies of the field and not be anxious.  It is a beautiful passage.  I sat in a MacDonald’s one cold December morning with tears in my eyes, reading this passage.  I was in the midst of a long period of unemployment and, never having faced anything like this before, I was terrified and angry.

This passage brought me comfort that day, but I did not understand it.  I thought it meant that I would be okay and God would take care of me.  It means that, but not in the way I think most of us think the passage means it.  Matthew 6:30-34 shows us the true meaning:

“But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do for you, O’ men of little faith?

Do not be anxious then, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “With what shall  we clothe ourselves?”

For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you shall need all these things.

But first seek His kingdom and His righteousness; all these things shall be added to you.

Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I think there are two key, powerful, phrases in this passage.  First, … “first seek His kingdom and his righteousness”.  If we put God’s kingdom first we should be willing to give up everything else. That is a powerful, gut-wrenching statement.  Are you willing to give up everything (every dollar, every relationship, every comfort) for your relationship with God?

A man spoke at our church on Sunday.  He told of the time that he had the dream life.  He had a beautiful wife, he was a partner in his father-in-law’s highly successful business, he was a rising star in the church his wife had grown up in.  He was a wealthy, respected man in his community, yet he was separated from God.  He had an unconfessed affair from years earlier.  Since his wife had repeatedly stated that infidelity was, for her, an unforgivable transgression, to confess meant losing everything.

But God made it clear that this man could go no further with Him until the sin was confessed.  And this man was obedient.  Like Abraham taking Isaac, as a sacrifice, to Moriah, this man went to his wife expecting to lose her, his family, his career, his reputation, all his worldly success.  He did not go to his wife with hope of her forgiveness.  This man was not playing chicken with God. He was willing to lose everything to ‘first seek His kingdom and His righteousness”.

The power that comes from surrendering everything is greater than any wealth you can possess.  How can you fear losing anything that you will freely give away?

The second powerful phrase in this passage is ..”do not be anxious for tomorrow”.  God says it throughout the Bible.  Live every moment as if it is your first moment in eternity, follow Him step by step, do not anticpte a tomorrow that can disappear in a moment.

Two years ago I left the comfort of a 30 year career in corporate America to start a consulting practice.  I did not know if it would work or if it would last.  That consulting practice, executed day by day with no expectations, has funded my dream – One21music.

Will One21music ever support me?  Will it ever even return the cash I have invested? I don’t know.  I just get up everyday, thank God for making this possible, ask for his guidance and work as hard as I can.  There is a lot of joy around here.

It is easy for me to say that the path to peace and joy is to be willing to sacrifice Everything (yes, with a capital E) and live obediently following God, step by step.

It is virtually impossible for us to blindly fall into the darkness that is our future on this earth .  Next week I will explain why.

Comments

  1. Nice blog…I pictured you as a college kid..not someone with 30 years in corparate america.

    I will comment on your live Idol blog but i do my own live blog so if you don’t hear from me as the show goes on I am still reading it!

  2. chuck says:

    Thanks Jim. I have been out of college for a while, but I promise you I never grew up. I guess you can tell that from my posts.

    This idea of submission, along with grace and salvation, is the foundation, I think, of Christianity. From these three ideas I think the joy and love of faith flow in our lives.

  3. Joshua says:

    That’s one of those verses that is good to be reminded of. I’m a music major and I don’t know what I’m going to do after I graduate. I get so worried I won’t be able to find a job sometimes. Thanks for posting it.

  4. chuck says:

    Thank you Joshua. There is much debate here about us posting non music articles on the site but I felt compelled to respond to the angst all around me with the comfort God provided me when I have been troubled about happenings in the world. Be sure to read parts 2 and 3. The final thoughts on this are coming next week. It all fits together. What happens here is just an inconsequential illusion.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] faith that transcends difficulties all around. Before you read this post go there and read about how to respond to our troubled financial [...]

  2. [...] In Part One, I shared with you Christ’s command, from Matthew 6:25-34, to not worry about the troubles of this world (”what we shall eat and what we shall wear”) but to seek first His Kingdom. That is achingly simple yet seemingly impossible. [...]

Speak Your Mind

*