There are some events in life that give you a chance to take an honest look at what is going on inside of you. For those who depend upon it, the downturn in the stock market is one of those chances. If your financial future seems free from impact by the ups and downs of the market, you may feel smugly immune. However, if the health of your financial future seems closely tied to the health of the market, the last couple of weeks provide a chance to “take an honest glimpse into your heart.”
Since I fall into the later category, this has provided me just such an opportunity. And it is not pretty. The story I am drawn to, in order to explain what I see inside of me, is a story Jesus told. Read it if you dare…
Luke 12:13–21 (NLT) Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” ’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
Notice that Jesus tells us that our life “is not measured by how much you own.” In a way I totally get that. My sense of worth and goodness is not determined by the things I have. I am a valuable and loved child of God not matter how much money I have.
But in another way I struggle with the words of Jesus. I find it so easy to measure my security by “how much I own”. To say it differently, it is almost impossible for me (and you?), not to find security in the money I own. In this case, in the stock market. I find it impossible to suppress within me the exact sentiments of the man that Jesus calls a rich fool. Look at verse 19 again.
And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” ’
There is a part of me that clearly wants to “have enough stored away for years to come.” There is a part of me that wants real financial security. It is not that I long to engage in illicit “eating and drinking”, it is just that I don’t want to have to worry about finances. There is a part of me that, dare I say it…. does not want to have to trust God.
Don’t get me wrong. I strive to follow and obey Jesus. I want to grow in ministry skill, and my prayer life. I want to continue to grow intellectually towards Jesus. I just don’t like it when I have to trust him for future finances. Maybe it is “too much work.” Maybe it “hits too close to home.” In any case, there is a part of me that has the sentiment of the rich fool. How about you?
What do I do about it?
1- Confess- I gotta confess that I am too much like the rich fool. A part of me does not want to have to trust Jesus for my financial future. I want to be secure. I am that man. It feels good to admit it.
2- Profess- I profess that I want something different. I have seen and experienced that Jesus is the source of life, … no he is life. Knowing him better is my future destiny and my current hope. I must declare to him (and you?) that this is what I want.
3- Express- I find it helpful to express gratitude. “Jesus, I am thankful for what you have shown me. I am thankful that I can see this dark part of me heart. I am grateful for how you have grown me and that you have an eternal perspective in mind. I am grateful that for the fact that you don’t give up on me”
Maybe this will help you!!
I have talked with a number of church leaders as they deal with the current virus and how to respond to it. Pray for wisdom as they try to walk through what one leader described to me as a “war zone”.