Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now, therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. . . . For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope” (1 Chron 29.12-13, 15).
It’s been easy to join in the despair lately. Fear mongering is a clever marketing tool so it’s hard to discern the truth about our economic future. Whatever the case, it looks like we’ll be adjusting to lower standards of living, harder work and creative frugality. My family for one could certainly stand to do so anyway.
As sons of Adam we all suffer from itchy pointer fingers and bloated egos. You take the blame for failure as long as I take the credit (no pun intended) for success. I deserve the favor you owe me, but I don’t owe what you favor. I’m entitled to it, but you must earn it.
As sons of God we benefit from God’s “rescue package.” He’s not dealt with the symptoms of a depressing economy, but it’s cause. Our excessively addictive credit is merely our greed on layaway. The dam of greed is bursting and our government can plug a few holes at best. The plugs may hold for a time, but the floodwaters will inevitably crumble what we thought was eternally secure. God is dismembering America’s Dagon.
But God has transformed the heart of his people so that greed no longer rules them. We know that it’s God’s hand that makes great and strengthens, not some shady legislation. We know that if we lose everything in this life we’ve lost nothing. If we lose our shirts, then we give our shoes away, too. We are sojourners and tenants. Our earthly economy is a mirage, a shadow, a hopeless vapor. God’s economy is never threatened by oil prices or foreign currencies. A global economic initiative is useless. We need the global gospel to kill greed in our hearts.
The Church is God’s favored nation who reflects hope and confidence in a future kingdom. As the waves of despair lap further into our country, the Church must stand tall in faith. She remains standing when all earthly empires fall. She’s ready with the good news when all political rhetoric fails. She has the answer when we run out of questions. The Church has what everyone needs. Will she be found faithful?
Will the Church realize that her attractiveness is not in technology and gadgetry? Will she realize thatstarving souls don’t care what the bakery looks like as long as it has bread? Will she realize that multi-million dollar digs do not impress the dying? Will she realize that her good news is not casual atmospheres and flowing lattes, but that there is eternally-flowing life beyond this pathetic world? Will she realize that the effective church is not where everyone looks like a Gap model, but where everyone wears towels around their waists? Will she realize sharing the Light of the world is far more important than choreographing the lights on her stage?
Perhaps the American Church needs a good dose of depression to topple her idols and simplify her ministry. I know I need a good dose of it in my heart and home.