|As I write these words there is one story utterly dominating the news: the alarm-ing state of the American economy. It is the headline of every newspaper, the lead of every radio and TV news report, and the major topic of conversation around dinner tables, office water coolers, and after-church coffee hours. |
I have lived through recessions before, and I have heard lots of dire predictions from pundits during my 56 years on this earth, but I have never seen or felt anything like this. While I watch my retirement funds dwindle (like everybody else) I try to keep up with the latest information coming out of Washington and Wall Street, and I wonder what to do about it.
I could go into a rant about greedy corporations, and ill-advised deregulation, and government of the C.E.O.s, by the C.E.O.s, and for the C.E.O.s, but I really do not understand what happened, what is happening, or what should happen. I am no economist.
But I am a Christian, and I can look at the current crisis through the lens of faith in Jesus. In the New Revised Standard Version of Jesus’ parable of the sower, Jesus says the seed sown among thorns is choked out by “the cares of the world, and lure of wealth, and the desire for other things.” But the old King James Version uses an even more accusatory phrase. Instead of “the lure of
|wealth” the KJV calls it “the deceitfulness of riches.” |
That phrase has come back to me again and again as the news has washed over me in the last week or two. Riches are deceitful. They deceive us into thinking we are secure when life is just as frail as it ever was. They deceive us into thinking they can make us happy when all they provide is the illusion of happiness.
So all of the pundits are mistaken when they seek to lay blame for the current crisis. The deceitfulness of riches is to blame. And all the experts are wrong when they claim to have solutions to the problems. That’s the deceitfulness of riches too.
I am not suggesting that all of us need to liquidate our assets and sit around waiting for manna to fall from heaven. But we can re-frame the way we look at this dilemma by looking at it through eyes of faith. Here’s a good perspective on it:
“Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?...Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’…Indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt. 6:25-26, 31-33).
You will never hear that on CNN.