Monday, February 16, 2009

anxiety over money

We live during a time when people are losing their jobs and wondering about their futures. As Americans, we've been taught to plan ahead. Conventional wisdom is that it's good for most of us to own a house, now get our 401-K's or an equivalent as high as possible, so that we can enjoy our retirement. But like Sharon told us yesterday, we've made gods out of all these things. Not necessarily wrong in themselves, but wrong if we're depending on them, rather than on God.

For the most part I worry very little about our finances. Deb handles them (we've traded back and forth, but she does better than I on them, so I let her have at it, now for some time). Something happened which made me wonder what was going on, though nothing Deb did wrong at all. But this threw me for a loop on Saturday. But in that, I was able to pray and think through Scripture. And when I arrived at church on Sunday morning, I was asked to read the Luke passage of the parable of the rich fool along with some of Luke's equivalent of what I was looking at in Matthew (the entire passage). Then Sharon gave us a message that hit the spot. Quite an encouraging time, though because of being so tired, I did not make it through the Dallas Willard material on it in The Divine Conspiracy (but will do so today, or very soon).

Do we really trust God? Are we living as those who seek God's kingdom and his righteousness? Or is it to pile up many goods and possessions for ourselves? Most of us are not perfect in this. We need to take an unflinching look at ourselves, in prayer. And seek to grow in our faith and commitment to God on this. Being rich toward God is key for us, which involves doing good for others.

Many will be tested during this time, perhaps the next year or so. How well will we do? And we must remember we're all in this together. Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." Not give me. Like Paul, I want to learn to be content in whatever circumstance. As long as I can serve God through Christ. And in that, know God will give us all we need.

Just kind of preliminary thoughts on this. What wisdom might you like to share with us- or anything in regard to this?


Tremonti said...

I'm not sure if I have any wisdom but this issues has been a constant struggle for me to.When I reflect on that passage where Paul tells us that he has learned to be content in whatever circumstances (Phil 4:10-13)I always think of the way circumstances force us to learn. It is where our wills are tied down, where we know that we can't really control our lives, where our pride gets shattered. But we can only tame our perspective on things when we learn to trust God along the way. It is sort of like I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength because my trust has shifted. Yes, circumstances have changed but my trust is not effected by that. Therefore adjusting becomes fitting every time there come times of fluctuation or in times of plenty.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Good words and well spoken. I think of growth over time. And within that upward trajectory there are ups and downs. So we must not get discouraged.

Dave J. said...

Sunday morning I was trying to sort out my life, trying to figure out where the stress was coming from. I was making a list of my 'roles' in life. Even as Sharon asked us to pray for others, I couldn't past my wife.

Then in the sermon she laid out how being self-centered is sin, so clearly by pointing out the 'I's in the scripture you read.

A wake up call to stop worrying about myself. To think of God's role, not mine.

Still need to sort things out, but its not all about me.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for sharing that. Yes, it was truly a very meaningful special time for me there, quite encouraging. Just seems like very much a moving of God is happening week after week in our church. God certainly gave Sharon an important word in season for us.