No need for financial fear

Published 10:08 pm Monday, August 8, 2011

It seems the news on the financial front keeps getting worse and worse for the United States.

The stock market is sliding after a credit rating downgrade by what President Barack Obama called “some agency” — also known as Standard & Poor’s, one of the three credit-rating agencies that evaluate the risk of debt for countries, states and municipalities throughout the world.

U.S. stocks have plunged 15 percent during the past two weeks, and mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae also were downgraded.

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The country’s debt is rocketing higher and higher with every passing second, and Congress seems determined to continue spending more than it takes in, which every reasonable person knows is financial folly.

All this adds up to mountains of fear for people who are watching their retirement accounts dwindle, facing months on end of unemployment, struggling to pay their mortgages and seeing their children edge closer and closer to college campuses.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the hype of uncertainty. It’s easy to allow panic to settle into your heart and mind, where it can feed your fear and steal your joy.

But God calls His children to have a different response to worldly issues than the world has. I encourage fellow Christians to reflect upon a few verses.

Matthew 28:20b says, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” This verse tells us clearly that God is ever-present in our lives, even at the end of the world — which surely will be far worse than a stock market meltdown.

Deuteronomy 20:8 says, “What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.” This verse, spoken in the context of preparing for battle, shows us that we will weaken those around us if we allow fear to take over.

Then there’s the story often known as the “Parable of the Talents,” where a man gave one of his servants five coins, another two, and another just one coin. Those who had received five and two coins invested them and doubled the money, but the one who received one coin buried it, because he was afraid of losing it. While the two who invested their money were praised as “good and faithful servants,” the one who squandered the opportunity was called “wicked and slothful.” His one coin was given to the man who had 10.

While this parable wasn’t necessarily about money, it illustrates that fear can rob us of opportunity, and those who take a chance may sometimes come out ahead.

A few local churches have Christian-based financial classes coming up. I’ll be writing about them on the Faith & Family page this week. For anyone who is afraid of the economy or money, these classes can help you leave it behind.