Friday, May 30, 2008

The economy:
Obstacle or opportunity?


Yesterday I read a news story about a married couple who recently committed suicide together because their home was foreclosed on. According to this article suicides are up with the state of our current economy as well as other indicators of mental anxiety and stress.

I believe we Christians need to realize this is an opportunity for us to brightly shine the light of Christ in this time of economic darkness our country is experiencing. We can view this as an obstacle or an opportunity. We must share the love of Jesus with others and let them see that while money or lack of it can create some discomfort in our lives, it's not the way to happiness even if one has lots of it. If we think money is the answer and brings joy and peace all we have to think about are all the famous people who have overdosed and killed themselves. Are we sharing with those we come into contact with on a daily basis that Jesus is the only true way to peace? We Christians must be about God's business and His business is the hope dealing business.

I have gone through hard financial times in my life where I needed a miracle to survive and I've had many friends who have done the same. Countless friends of mine have risen from the ashes of financial devastation, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and are on the other side of it now, with God's help. Larry and I once lived with all our belongings stored in a Sunday School room, and I'm not kidding. We've had our hard times, but have learned to hang in there because "this too shall pass" and on the other side there's a blessing in the storm. People need to know there is hope in Jesus -- that they should not give up. But who will tell them? We must share with them.

And for you Christians who already know all this but you have just been depressed about the current financial state of things - let me just give a reminder to all of us that our eternal dividends are most important and there are certain things you just CAN'T PUT A PRICE TAG ON. Last night I was sitting here thinking of some of them in my life. I was thanking and praising the Lord for a while before I went to sleep. You need to do this for yourself and count your own blessings, but a few of mine last night were this...

1) My house was filled with six kids last night (my own plus three more) and all couldn't wait to give "Momma Shrodes" a great big kiss and hug and share the love. How in the world do I put a price tag on that? Every day my husband says, "I love you babe." Every day my kids say, "I love you, Momma..." and mean it. I could lose everything and as long as I still had the love of my family I'd be the among the richest people in the world. I not only have my natural kids that I'm raising but lots of them that I'm spiritual Momma to. WHAT A BLESSING! What whopping ETERNAL rewards!!!

2) We came home from work last night and I was so beat and my head was starting to hurt and I went in and laid down. Teeb made dinner. He told me he had a surprise for me. A little while later here he comes with a plate that looks like it came off of the food network. He tried to recreate my favorite dish from Carrabbas and he seriously came really close to doing it! Right now we don't want to drop the $$ to go to Carrabbas because like all of you a whole lot of our money's being spent at the gas pump. But Teeb tried to bring me my very own personal Carrabbas cause that's just the kinda guy he is. He wants me to feel special. How do you put a price tag on that? It's about more than whatever he paid for the groceries to make it - to me it's about his heart to please me.

3) I was doing the dishes and talking to my kids and discussing praise/worship with the boys as far as our late night prayer meeting at the church Friday night. All of a sudden Savanna bursts out of her room and yells, "MOMMA CAN I COME? CAN I PLEASE COME TO THE PRAYER MEETING?" My 11 year old is running out of her room begging to go to a prayer meeting. (Never mind that she wasn't going to have a choice and she goes to prayer meetings whether she likes it or not), but still...her desire...trust me folks, you can't put a price tag on that.

4) A new man to our church, Timothy, gave a testimony Wednesday night about how 30 days ago he had a box cutter to his wrist and was going to kill himself when he walked into our Saturday outreach and Rob Hart began to minister to him. He had slept on our property the night before, homeless - no where to go...was feeling like giving up in life and had fully planned to take his life. But then Jesus put Rob in his path. As Rob begin to minister to him and he felt the love of others as well at Northside, he came into relationship with Jesus and he has had a revolution these past 30 days. He is a new creation. This man testified Wednesday night that not only was he delivered from thoughts of suicide, but he is cleaning up even the little things in his life. He said, "30 days ago I only showered once a week. I'm showering daily now, cleaning up my life on the inside and the outside and I'm making a new start." The past few weeks he's been on the second row at church just praising God and soaking in every bit of Him that He can get. I'm telling you, we've got to get through to the Timothy's that there is HOPE in Jesus.

There is OPPORTUNITY for ministry amidst this OBSTACLE that we are facing. I recently read the story of a group of people who have started the "Pray at the Pump" movement. They are calling on Almighty God to bring gas prices down. I don't see anything wrong with this. I'm not out there at the pump praying (yet) but I sure am praying at home! The government and politicians sure aren't going to take care of this. Our trust must be in the hand of the Lord, not the arm of the flesh.

From praying at the pump to encouraging your friends and neighbors to turn to Jesus, to doing acts of kindness for them, giving to others who don't have as much as we do - there are many opportunities.

Let's be about the Father's business.

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