Zig Ziglar told the story of a son who wanted to surprise his dad with a special gift on his 60th birthday: a copy of his family tree, tracing his genealogy back hundreds of years. He hired a professional company and the researcher who compiled the study reported back to the son, “I’ve got good news and bad news for you. The bad news is your dad had an uncle named Harry no one in the family ever knew about. He was a horrific criminal who spent time in the State Penitentiary and was put to death in the electric chair.”
The son was shocked. “This is terrible! It’s all ruined now. I can’t possibly give my dad that kind of gift. Not with that information in there. Forget about the project.”
“Wait a minute!” the researcher replied, “I haven’t told you the good news. Here’s what I wrote about Uncle Harry. I think your dad would be fine with it and it still maintains the integrity of our research: Uncle Harry occupied a seat in a government institution. He was connected to his work by the strongest of ties. His sudden death came as a real shock.”
We’ve been watching a similar scenario for years as our nation’s leaders have attempted to put the best face on the financial mess our nation is in. Our national debt is now approaching $22 trillion. The explanations and “creative blame placing” would be almost comical if real people like you and I weren’t losing real money. One day the stock market is through the roof. The next day it’s through the floor. One day this financial institution is fine. Tomorrow it’s not and is either being rescued by a government bailout or bought by some other institution. (By the way, Uncle Sam doesn’t pay those bills. Ultimately, we, our children or our grandchildren will.)
God’s people should be as dependable as the sunrise.
So, what should the response of Christians be when situations like this arise? Turn to God and His Word. Without question, without reservation, without hesitation, we should instantaneously turn to God and seek His wisdom and counsel. Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).
We should make sure our own financial house is in order, functioning faithfully in accordance with God’s Word. (See Matthew 7:3.) What a statement to make on BLACK FRIDAY! Right?
We should also take every opportunity to remind our representatives they represent us and we expect them to manage the money we give them (i.e., taxes) in the most sensible, fiscally responsible and ethical way possible. Which includes eliminating the debt and not spending money they don’t have. It is unconscionable and unthinkable we would allow our government to mortgage the future of our country on the backs of our children, grandchildren and generations beyond, leaving them with a bill they will never be able to pay.
One of my favorite passages for times like this is Psalm 37. Here are a few key points that always encourage me:
1. Don’t get anxious or upset when wicked people do wicked things and seem to get away with it (vs. 1-2, 7-10). They’re not getting away with anything. God will ultimately settle all accounts.
2. Keep trusting the Lord and do good (vs. 3-6). Keep trusting God. Keep doing what’s right. When it comes to your personal finances, keep tithing and giving generously so you stay “under the spout where all of God’s blessings come out.” Be careful what you spend and stay consistent with what you save. And stay on track to get completely out of debt.
3. God’s people pay their bills, give generously and are blessed by God (vs. 21-24). No matter what happens in our economy or in the world, God’s people should be as dependable as the sunrise. You can count on God’s people to keep their word and keep God’s Word!
4. God will ALWAYS take care of His people (vs. 25-29). Just as God can count on His people, His people can count on Him! David said, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed … They will be protected forever.”
The final verses of Psalm 37 may be the best of all …“The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.”
© 2018. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.