Summary: What does the Christ Follower do in a recession? What does the Christ follower do when things go south? What does the Christ follower do when things don’t look so good?

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This message is an edited version of a sermon given at Loving God Fellowship. Copyright © 2008 Loving God Fellowship, Inc. . You are encouraged to share this message with those you know that are hungry for God’s Word.

What does the Christ Follower do in a Recession?

By Rev. Greg Johnson

Jeremiah 17:7-8

The new year of 2008 is off to a rocky start economically. There is beginning to be talk of the “R” word – Recession. Danny Schechter, director of the film In Debt We Trust, writes the following commentary in the December 2007 issue of Sojourners Magazine:

Mortgage Blues - Predatory credit hurts homeowners and the world economy.

"Today, 2 million families face foreclosure on their homes in the aftermath of what should be called the “subcrime”: Many credit-poor families were seduced into buying houses with so-called subprime loans (pricier than most ordinary loans) that the lender knew they could not afford. The mortgages had interest rates that were initially attractively low, but which quickly reset upwards. Families living on the edge soon found themselves in an unaffordable situation—especially as other costs, such as gas and food, went up. Many homeowners are now caught in a squeeze that could cause far more homelessness than Hurricane Katrina.

And they’re not the only ones in trouble. Financial markets are melting down. To keep them afloat, the Federal Reserve and its counterparts in other countries have had to inject hundreds of billions of dollars into the banking system. More than 140 companies have already imploded. Thousands in the housing industry are out of work. Economists fear a serious recession and are scaling back their projections for growth.

How was this allowed to happen? These days, instead of holding onto mortgages they make, most banks sell them to Wall Street. There, prominent firms make millions recycling mortgages into securities and other exotic financial instruments, often using them to provide financing for even bigger deals—and sanctioning the unrestrained greed and unregulated chicanery of the predatory lending industry.

It became a classic “the emperor has no clothes” story when it was revealed that many of those “asset-backed securities” had no real assets behind them. Suddenly, the paper proved worthless and the markets panicked. Soon there was a “crisis of liquidity” in financial circles, as it became clear that bad deals had been funded by bad debts. That’s where we are now: trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not, as the markets melt down and mortgage companies that engaged in predatory lending implode.

It’s a major crisis, impacting the people who can least afford it. In September, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a percent—a move that will help bail out bankers, but not the people who are suffering under the burden of debt and foreclosures.

We need the media to put this crisis into a larger context, stop focusing on the woes of wealthy speculators, and show the economic pain of ordinary Americans. Only a few critics are telling the real story, as populist pundit Jim Hightower does: “At its core, this is a classically simple story of banker greed and outright sleaze. And the astonishing part is that nearly all of the rank injustice perpetrated by today’s moneychangers is considered legal and is practiced by supposedly reputable financial firms.”

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