Summary: With the economic recession are we worrying or trusting in God? A sermon to remind people to trust in God by faith that he will provide if we put him first.
You don’t have to read the Wall Street Journal to realize our economy is in crisis mode right now. Over the course of the first ten days of the month of October, the Dow Jones Industrial average dropped 2380 points, or 22%. From a little over a year ago (Oct. 8th, 2007) the DJI is down almost 40%. The national jobless rate is at a 14 year high of 6.5%, while in Michigan our jobless rate at the end of September was 8.7%, the second highest in the country, largely due to the collapsing of the big three auto manufacturers. Both the automakers and their suppliers have cut 140,000 jobs nationwide over the past 12 months. Mortgage lenders and insurance companies have been going out of business of filing for bankruptcy.
I realize these are just numbers, but they represent real people. People who have lost their job, or are afraid of losing their job because of the large number of companies in our area either going out of business or downsizing. It represents people whose investments are doing a nose dive, and they are watching their retirement nest eggs evaporate. They are wondering will we have enough money to retire or to live off of if there are already retired, some may have had to rethink going back to work. Even those retired folks who live on a fixed income with social security or pension are wondering how they will keep up with the increasing costs of food, heating. With all of the depressing news we’ve had recently it is certainly reason enough to worry and for some people even to panic, especially if you are one of the people directly impacted by it.
That’s why Jesus’ words to us from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34 are as relevant today as they’ve ever been. [Read passage]
Boy, does Jesus hit the nail on the head for us or what? When the economy starts to head south, what do we do? We begin to worry. Why? Because we are afraid we won’t be able to keep the same standard of living we have enjoyed in the past. Will we be able to buy the same Christmas presents, and go on a trip this year? While for some the fear is more critical, will I lose my job? Will we have the basic things necessary to live: food, clothing, shelter?
Jesus hits it on the head because our worry goes back to two things, our faith or trust in God, and who or what we really serve. Living in one of the wealthiest nations in the world means we have flirted so long with trying to serve two masters, that when the one master starts to fail us, we worry, we panic because it’s always been there for us.
This is going to sound strange, but I am one of those crazy people who actually think the economic crisis is actually a good thing for our country? Not that I want people to go without or to lose their job or not be able to have their basic needs met. But I believe an economic crisis will allow God to help teach us some valuable lessons.
1. God is giving us the opportunity to trust him more
One of the first lessons God is teaching us is how to learn to trust him more. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Do we learn to trust God more when times are good, or when times are bad? Yeah, of course, we learn to trust God more when times are tough. When times are good we don’t have to think about where our next meal will come from, or how we will pay the gas bill or electric bill. We know our income will cover all our needs so we don’t even think about it. We really don’t need to trust God for any of our physical needs. But when the economy starts to crumble and the Dow Jones takes hit after hit, and our nest egg begins to evaporate, or we are facing the threat of the company cutting jobs, or cutting back on wages or benefits, that’s when it becomes real to us. That is when our faith is put to the test. Do we really trust God to provide for our needs, or do we begin to panic? Worry works against faith and trust. The more we worry, the less we trust. That’s why I see our economic woes as an opportunity for us to learn to trust God more in the face of financial hardships.
That’s why Jesus challenges us in our thinking about God. He says, doesn’t God provide food for the birds of the air, even though they don’t even work for it? Doesn’t God clothe the lilies of the field in beauty even though they will last only a short while? If God cares about them, don’t you think he will care even more about you?