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The Financial Crisis and the Christian

October 2008 will be one of those months that will do down in history because of what happened on the global stock market. Some of the biggest drops on record took place, and many governments around the world were forced to intervene. There are millions of people who have future savings and pensions invested in stocks. Since October 2007 - when the markets hit a peak - such investments have shrunk in value by 30-40%. In the USA, this is all taking place on top of shrinking housing values, rising unemployment, and rising housing foreclosures.

Understandably, there are a considerable number of people who are very worried about the future. As a Christian, what should we be thinking? Consider:

  • Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. Proverbs 11:28

  • Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil. Proverbs 15:16

  • Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Proverbs 23:4-5

  • Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

  • Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

  • People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:9-10

  • You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Revelation 3:17

As a Christian we know that everything comes from God:

  • To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Deuteronomy 10:14

So when the markets crash, we shouldn't wonder about what we may have lost. If anything we can talk to God about how much he has lost! Of course God is far more concerned with our relationship with Him and others.

Others have experienced far worse. Jeremiah was a prophet in ancient Judah almost 2600 years ago. In 587BC he and everyone in Jerusalem were victims of destruction as King Nebuchadnezzar of Bablyon plundered and raised the city and the Temple to the ground. Many prominent citizens and a large part of the Jewish population were taken to Babylon.

At these worst of times, one of the books of the Bible was written - Lamentations. The writer is anonymous, although tradition has Jeremiah as the author. And in these worst of times hope was expressed. In our darkest moods, this is a passage worth re-reading:

  • I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. So I say, "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD." I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 17-26.

May you not be consumed, and may you experience new compassions every day.

John Bell
November 2nd, 2008
Irvine, California, USA.

 

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