Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Don't Panic!

Here's some great stuff for this political week from RELEVANT MAGAZINE:

There’s no doubt that the current financial crisis is at the forefront of most people’s minds. Banks are in trouble, homes are being foreclosed on, and the stock market continues to plummet with a savage and single-minded determination. The government has scrambled to stop the bleeding, with both parties tripping over themselves to throw billions of dollars at companies who apparently couldn’t handle their affairs in the first place. Fourty-two billion went to investment giant AIG, who promptly and in good faith used 0,000 of it to send their executives to a five-star resort. After the press brutally raked them over the coals for their conspicuous consumption, the chastened corporation took their executives on a hunting trip to England.

In the midst of this absolute mess, it’s very easy for the common person to panic. After all, with companies in flames all around us, the corporations that drive our economy grossly mismanaged to the point of catastrophe, can our jobs or livelihoods fall far behind? However, there is a powerful message in all this, if we choose to learn it. Jesus puts it in perspective for us in Matthew 6.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:25-33, TNIV)
Our first reaction to a response like this is to think it trite. After all, we don’t need tired Christian catch-alls right now. We need pragmatism. We need action! I wonder why it is, though, that faith in God’s providence seems impractical to us? In our modern, Western society, it’s easy to look at the words Jesus spoke here and dismiss them as a lot of nice and idealistic talk. Yet, what Jesus is telling us is far more than the necessity of relying on God. He’s pointing out all the things we rely on instead.
As Christians, we are supposed to be a set-apart and peculiar people. We seem to have diminished that concept to a list of action-based do’s and don’ts while still accepting part and parcel the world’s attitudes and priorities. How different are we really when it comes to our concerns over money and material desires? Where does our faith run off to when the company we work for starts handing out pink slips? Either the message Jesus spoke here is true both in times of abundance and want, or it is never true at all.
We have a very particular opportunity before us. As the world pulls out its collective hair watching global markets fall farther and farther, we can exhibit a peace and faith that befuddles those around us. We can show the world that we truly believe that God will supply our needs, even when we don’t see it happening. Even when we have misconceptions about what our true needs are.
There’s another element to all this. For those of the world who are deeply affected by this economic downturn, we can be a light by helping to supply their needs. Can you imagine the impact it would have on the world if the body of Christ suddenly came to the financial aid of those who have lost their jobs? How many volumes of God’s love could we speak by stepping up to help pay the mortgage of our neighbors facing foreclosure? This global panic could be remembered as a time when Christians put the Gospel in action and reached out to help the downtrodden, or it can be remembered as a time when they panicked along with everyone else. The choice is ours.
Democrat or Republican, we should be able to agree that the answer to our problems is not a government bailout. The answer is a steadfast reliance on God’s provision. Even when everything around us looks grim, and our very livelihoods are threatened, we can rest assured that God is more concerned with our needs than we are. Let us be a people who fundamentally believe the promises Jesus made. Not as a pious platitude, but as a pragmatic reality.
Author: Adam Smith

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm a Grandma!!

Yes---I have joined the Grandma Club--and it is everything it is cracked up to be! I have been a card-carrying "Gramma" for about 72 hours, and I love it! They brought her home on Tuesday afternoon, and their previous baby, Big Ole Brutus, was fascinated to say the least. :-)

Next, Rachel gets married November 1....2008 has been a challenging year, but it is concluding with much joy. God's Word says, "Weeping may last for the night-time, but joy comes in the morning!" We are so thankful for the strength God has given, and for the blessings he sends our way.