The stock market fell more than 600 points Monday. It gained 430 back on Tuesday, followed by losing 520 points on Wednesday. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a bad week. Or is it? Scripture tells us that God can work all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Here are three blessings of a sour economy:
1. It helps us evaluate the object of our ultimate trust.
How did you sleep last night? How many times have you checked your stock portfolio this week? God told the people of Jeremiah’s day, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
Verses like these are much easier to follow when our riches are crumbling around us. For those of us who find too much security in material prosperity, the Lord has helped us greatly by showing how quickly material possessions can disappear. It may be wise to thank God for the powerful lesson He is teaching us in these days of financial uncertainty, to repent of our tendency to trust in our own might and riches, and to recommit ourselves to finding our joy and security in understanding and knowing Him.
2. It helps us store up treasure in heaven.
The Master Teacher said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
The heavenly stock market had another good day. That was also true yesterday, and it will be equally true tomorrow. We all have a limited amount of resources, and an unlimited number of places to invest them. Wise stewards invest in loving God and loving others. Money spent last week on a meal for your neighbor will pay an eternal dividend, while money invested in the stock market lost value today. All of us would be wise to examine our calendars, our checkbooks, and our internet browsers to determine the nature of our investments. What does all of that reveal about the nature of our hearts?
3. It helps us marvel at the power of God.
This week’s stock losses followed several brutal sessions last week. However, on Sunday our church received the largest offering of the year. It was not the result of any special emphasis or appeal. We quietly passed around the silver offering plates as part of our corporate worship and over $88,000 was given to support God’s work here and around the world.
How do you explain such a statistic? Friends, that is the power of God working in and through His people. He delights in transforming us from people who trust in material wealth, to men and women who see finances as a tool to demonstrate our love for and trust in Him. When God’s people do that, especially when the economy is sour, it is truly a beautiful thing.
Here’s to praying that the economy will eventually improve. But in the meantime, let’s allow our sovereign God to use economic uncertainty as a means of conforming us to the image of His Son.