I’m finishing up week two of social distancing at home and I’m finally (maybe) getting used to working at home while having three kids running around. As the new normal becomes, well, more normal, I think a lot of us have heard and read encouragements on how to deal with the fear of a pandemic virus as it relates to our physical and emotional health from a Christian world view. But in the midst of trying to understand COVID-19, it’s risks, and the best way to cope with social distancing, the impending financial crisis may have escaped your thoughts.
We’re also heading into the second week in North Texas of most non-essential businesses having to be shut down. This hit home for me earlier this week, as my company announced that 8% of our work force was laid off and further cuts or wage reductions could be coming in the future. This announcement scared me and immediately made think about what this could mean for myself and my family. Some of you may have already been laid off, had to temporarily shut down your business, face uncertain job security, or have seen your 401K shrink. I wanted to give a few encouragements on how to respond with a Christian perspective during these uncertain financial times.
1. Reflect on Where Your Treasure Is
In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus says, “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 moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
In the layoff announcement from the CEO of my company my immediate response was fear and anxiety. This revealed that my treasure and hope was too focused on the security that the treasures of the world promise to provide instead of placing my hope and security in God. Situations like the one we’re currently in are what Jesus warned us about. Pandemics can take away our earthly treasure, but they can’t take away our treasures in heaven. If you’re anxious about finances during this time, I encourage you to pray and reflect on where your heart is.
On the other hand, maybe God has blessed you and you’re not worried about finances from the pandemic. I would encourage you to reflect on your heart and see if you’re not worried because of your trust in the Lord, or because of the treasures on earth that you have. I struggled on this side too.
When the federal stimulus was announced and I heard that my wife and I would be receiving some extra money, my thoughts immediately went to what I should do with the money. Should I pay off some debt? Add to our kid’s college fund? Or maybe I should put it in savings in case things get worse. Later in the day, I read a Christian article that suggested that if you’re able, consider giving away all or part of your stimulus money to those that need it. My initial thoughts weren’t necessarily bad things, but they were not thoughts of storing treasures in heaven.
This is one practical application to consider. Tiff and I are praying on how much we should donate and for God to bring opportunities to us. If you’re able, perhaps you’d consider joining us in praying to God to bring a need to your attention that you might donate some or part of your stimulus money to.
2. Trust in the Provision of Your Heavenly Father
A few verses later in Matthew 6:31-32 Jesus says “Do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” If you’re struggling financially, remember that God is your heavenly Father and He knows you need to eat, pay your rent or mortgage, and take care of your family. It is hard to trust God when you face financial uncertainty, but the testing of your faith will lead to you becoming more like Christ.
If you do need help, let your brothers and sisters in Christ know as many are able and want to love you in practical ways. There is no shame in needing help. My family and I have struggled financially in the past and we received financial help from other brothers and sisters in Christ. It was an answer to prayer and a huge blessing.
If you’re okay financially right now, I would encourage you to thank God daily for providing for you. It can be easy to fall into the temptation of trusting in your own ability to earn money, work hard, and manage your assets well. God has given you everything that you have and as Christians we ought to recognize that and remember that we still need to trust in the Lord to provide for all of our needs.
3. Rejoice in the Lord No Matter What Happens
As our pastors continue to preach through Habakkuk on Sundays, many of the concerns we’re facing with the pandemic have been addressed. The end of Habakkuk continues to give us a great encouragement, including during uncertain financial times.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 says, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”
I can’t put it any better than that. If in the worst-case scenario from the pandemic we lose everything, let us yet rejoice in the Lord together. If the Lord is gracious and we come out of the pandemic with minimal financial distress let us still rejoice in the Lord together. No matter what, let us glorify God because of the salvation He’s freely given us through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus, and through our response to these uncertain times, let the unbelieving world see our faith and hope and turn to God.
As a final practical note, there are many different federal and state programs that have been released and will probably continue to be released. If you have any questions about any programs that you may be eligible for please let me know and I will help find the information that you need.