Man, am I late on this. Sorry.
How can you not hear constant buzz about the economy? Our country is on a `round-the-clock financial information binge. The only good news is we’re spared coverage of the latest Lohan family rehab news. Back in May we decided to do a series in October on money; who would have guessed at that time that the airwaves and zeroes-and-ones would be filled with terms like bailout, CDOs, Fannie Mae MBS?
The last time I spoke I showed the NYC national debt clock from six months ago.
It was originally designed to display up to $9,999,999,999,999. Two weeks ago it actually ran out of spaces—we hit a new high (or a new low): $10.2 trillion. They had to replace the dollar sign space with numbers; plans are in place to add two more spaces. How bizarre is that? We are in way over our heads.
These are the days when you hear preachers say:
• “Jesus spoke more about money than ______” (hell, heaven, salvation, whatever….)
• “Bla bla bla…time, talent, treasure…bla bla bla”
• “I’m no economist, but…”
• “Turn to Malachi 3…”
And, yeah, I’ve said them.
During financial uncertainty, you know what’s the real deal? —Trust.
But honest trust. That’s trickier than it reads. Think of all the things that have to be in place for real provisional trust to work: a good and true heart, healthy measures of self-awareness, child-like faith in a compassionate Father, no guile, a sense of scale, generosity, and a good work ethic. Then you can trust God deeply and honestly. “Provision” is heard differently depending on the “receptor”.
For instance, a message of trust in a Father who provides would probably be heard differently by Dorcas in Acts 9 than the Thessalonian slackers in 2 Thessalonians 3. Dorcas was known for working constantly to provide for the poor; some Thessalonian believers were sitting on their super-spiritual cans waiting for Jesus to come back. Paul laid his apostolic hammer down with this rule: “Whoever doesn’t work, doesn’t eat.” How do you think God would respond to either one who asked for needs to be met?
While it’s true the phrase “God helps those who helps themselves” isn't found in the Bible (credit Ben Franklin for that one), outside of our personal salvation, that’s a pretty pithy proverb. Coming from a “word of faith” background, I had dissed that thought. But the older I get, the more I can see our behaviors/words reflect what’s really in the heart.
And, in the Kingdom, we hear—and receive—with our heart.
You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat… (Isaiah 25:4a NIV)