As Christians, we have the freedom to rejoice and hope in the midst of social and economic hardship. A bad economy might mean that an individual or a family member does not have an income to support their preferred way of life. This can feel scary and make stability in life seem precarious. However, a Christian can have peace and comfort during times of economic hardship because we have three scriptural ways to view a bad economy.
What is a Christian response to a bad economy?
First of all, a Christian should respond to a bad economy by continuing to work hard and by continuing to practice financial wisdom. Proverbs 13:4 and 20:4 warn that laziness is never wise, and that the man who refuses to work will have nothing to collect during a time of harvest (i.e., a paycheck). Adversely, diligence is rewarded with wealth (Proverbs 12:27). Wealth has its own troubles though (Proverbs 13:8), and the Bible advises that it is wisest to work steadily instead of straining to make a lot of money all at once (Proverbs 13:11). Proverbs also states that working only to accrue wealth is unwise (Proverbs 23:4). All of these principles should be followed in a good and bad economy alike.
Second, we should remember to be generous regardless of a bad economy. By practicing generosity during turbulent times, we are taking a stand to follow God's commands, even in financial hardship. This principle is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6–7, which states: "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." Here, Paul is not necessarily talking about reaping bountifully in financial means, but in spiritual means. When we are open-handed with our money, as God desires us to be, He will reward us spiritually (Matthew 6:4). God does not promise us wealth, but He does promise to meet our needs when we seek after Him (Matthew 6:31–33). Our priorities should always be spiritual. This means that in a bad economy, we must still follow God's instruction to take care of others, trusting that He will also take care of us. It is not wise to place our trust in money or our own striving. Wealth and objects in this world are easily destroyed, but we should fix our eyes on God (Matthew 6:19–21).
The third way that we should respond to a bad economy extends to all situations in our lives. We are to trust in God's provision. He knows exactly what we need, and He has promised to provide for us. There are many stories in the Bible that are examples of God's unfailing provision. God fed Elijah in the desert by delivering food to him through ravens (1 Kings 17:4–6). God also provided an endless supply of flour to a widow later in the chapter (1 Kings 17:16). Often, God takes care of His children in unique ways that point to His glory. In a bad economy, we are commanded to trust Him to take care of us and meet our needs. God shows us time and again that we do not need to be anxious about what we will eat or drink or wear (Matthew 6:25–34).
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