Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Biblical Response to the Stock Market Crash

by Bruce Mills
I just returned from a much needed vacation in the mountains of north Georgia.  My wife and I got to spend a week with some good friends at their beautiful mountain lodge home.  We went hiking, sightseeing, and strolled around the Georgia Mountain Fall Festival at the fairgrounds in Hiawassee. The leaves were changing and the mountainsides were filled with gorgeous red, yellow, and orange leaves. It was wonderful.  But my vacation is not what I want to write about.
While we were there, the world's stock markets and financial systems crashed.  We watched as our government's best effort to bailout the financial institutions of our nation in order to prevent their failure proved itself to be a failure.  People saw their retirement savings take a beating which may take years to recover.
My friend with whom we were staying offers financial counsel to his friends and family as to how to best invest in the market in order to save sufficiently for retirement.  His phone began to ring off the hook, as person after person called him looking for advice on what they should do.  He spent many hours of his own time, staying up late into the night and then getting up early in the morning, working on their portfolios in an attempt to reduce the damage to each person's savings.
What was particularly distressing is to hear Christians calling in a panicked state of mind.  I would expect such from unbelievers.  After all, they have no promise from God that He will provide for their needs, but Christians have the unbreakable promise of Scripture that their eternal Father will supply all their needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).  The psalmist David observed, "I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread" (Psalm 37:25).  And in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave extensive instruction on how Christians are to deal with financial issues and the daily concerns about the necessities of life (cf. Matthew 6:19-34). 
Yet despite these, and many more Scriptural assurances of God's care and provision for His children in difficult circumstances, my friend's phone kept ringing, and his email inbox filled up with messages from Christians who were afraid that they were about to lose everything they have invested. Admittedly, many of them were being prudent and seeking wise counsel as to how to approach these perplexing and difficult financial times.  But others were absolutely hysterical and panicked.
Such a response is a worldly and ungodly response.  There has been no other opportunity in our lifetime in which believers have had as great an opportunity to verbally and visibly demonstrate their reliance and trust on their God to take care of them.  While the world around them panics, Christians need to be resting in the promises of God and trusting Him to carry them through these dark times.  After all, even if these difficulties last the rest of our lives, that is incomparable to the eternal glory that awaits those who trust in Christ.  Scripture instructs us, "Be anxious for nothing (that includes job losses, stock market crashes, and the loss of all your retirement savings), but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
So stop trusting in accumulated wealth. You cannot serve both money and God, so choose to trust in God and serve Him (cf. Matthew 6:24).  Be a testimony to your friends and family by visibly demonstrating your reliance on your heavenly Father to provide your present and future needs.  Our Lord is in control, and He is sovereignly bringing about His eternal purposes in our current circumstances.  So rest in His perfect plans.

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