Everyone is painfully aware that we are in a financial crisis. Unemployment is going up, nearly 600,000 jobs were lost in January alone. Salaries are being frozen, businesses are going bankrupt, churches are under financial pressure, homes are being foreclosed, and endowments and pension funds have dropped significantly. How should Christians respond in the current crisis?
#1 is to combat fear. 1 John 4:18-19 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us.” The other antidote for fear is to remember our history. We all either know people who lived through the Great Depression or we have certainly heard the accounts of that time, and though it was difficult they got through it. We too will get through this crisis.
#2 is for Christians to seize this time as a teaching opportunity. Underlying our economic crisis is a deeper, spiritual crisis in our lives and in our society. I believe there are times when we need things that shake us and drive us to our knees before God and I believe this is what is happening.
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. In times of economic crisis, part of the Christian message is gain all you can, save all you can (by spending as little as you can, be frugal) and give all you can. John Wesley’s sermon “The Use of Money” is as timely a word today as it was in the 18th century.