Where Do You Hurt?
Sooner or later, every economic trauma including this one hurts everyone somewhere! Has it affected your income; your client base; your retirement plans; your mortgage rate; your home value(s); your savings; your portfolio; or your very occupation? In Os Hillman's recent daily e-letter TGIF (Today God is First); he observed that the market drop on one of the days in the first few weeks of the down turn had a familiar ring. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped that day by the exact # of 777. I am not sure that God speaks to us by the changes of the stock indexes but I do believe we feel his presence by where our most important treasures are.
When I have experienced market chaos and the stock averages are in free fall, there is always a turning and a pit in my stomach. It was symptomatic for me that some clients were going to suffer and perhaps there were issues in their lives that I had not fully identified about their risk capabilities. Indeed, the pressure to offer advice with both wisdom and foresight when stocks are falling or fluctuating wildly never stops. Clients, family, and friends, all want reassurance that our/their world is going to be ok. My outlook has always been that being positive about the future is both constructive and profitable. Balancing that with the realities of short term problems is also important in helping people to stay conservative and remain committed to long term strategies. Most important is to remain focused on what God is calling each of us to do rather than daily focusing on the values of our retirement account when that might many years away.
Rather than asking where you hurt, it seems to me that we could identify many places that we have hurt God in the way we have handled wealth. The needs of our brothers and sisters in the Lord are likely to get worse in the next few years. Already, I have talked with churches and ministries who are planning financially for a normal year and also a year that would involve budget cuts of 20 to 25 percent as a contingency. I think when our hearts and stomachs ache as much for the needs of our neighbors as it does for the declining value of our portfolios, we will know more about the heart of God!
I John 3:17-18 "But if any one has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth." (RSV)
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