My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. I follow the readings and journaling from lifejournal.me. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Bad Economic Times
How are you responding in these times of bad economy? There are lessons to be learned from the faithful in Macedonia.
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,
(2 Corinthians 8:1 NASB)
that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
(2 Corinthians 8:2 NASB)
We may think that we are facing insurmountable obstacles in today's
economic times but the world goes through cycles and the Church has
faced these days in the past, and has survived. Paul was on his
missionary journeys and he traveled through the area of Macedonia. He
shared with them the needs of those who were struggling in other
areas of the world. They, themselves, were going through a " ordeal
of affliction" and "deep poverty." Things were not just "sort-of" bad,
but they were "really" bad. And yet in the midst of their bad economic
times they had an abundance of joy and a wealth of liberality. Instead
of focusing on their personal difficulties, they had learned to focus
their lives on Christ. They were trusting in Him on a daily basis and
the result was not that the Lord showered them with money and worldly
goods, but rather, that they received God's joy and a freedom to be
generous and liberal with whatever they had. They were no longer tied
to the things of this world, but had learned to let them loose and give
them back to God. What did they do? Out of their poverty, they gave to
others whom they deemed more needy than themselves, even in bad
Day after day we await a hint of news that the economy may be on
the upturn. That news doesn't seem to be coming and along the way we
wonder what it all means for us personally. We've all been touched,
either personally, or by acquaintance, by those who are suffering
through lengthy unemployment. We have watched as housing values have
fallen and personal equity shrinks. The stock market stumbles and the
savings follows along. Giving in the churches has decreased as many
struggle to make ends meet. Tithing has become something in which less
than 40% of church goers participate. And yet -- could we somehow gain
the join and freedom which the church in Macedonia discovered? How is
that possible, in difficult economic times?
The answer is to look to Jesus Christ and participate in His
holiness. That's what Paul had been preaching and the people "got" it.
They chose to spend time in God's holy presence, they brought their
burdens and their difficulties to Him, and then they left those burdens
with Him. Instead of focusing on what they didn't have, they focused on
what they did have, and then gave generously. They were joyful that
they were able to help others who were even worse off than they were!
The same can be true for us today. We need to stop focusing on what we
don't have, and focus on what we do have. Then, we need to join our hearts
to His heart and give as generously as possible. Allow God to do the
rest. Trust in Him. Will it change the bad economic times? No. Will
it change us? Yes.
Lord, help us today to focus on all that You have done for us, and give us hearts of generosity to those around us. Amen.