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Finding hope

Concerns over money have always been part of life, and overcoming these concerns is just as big a challenge as escaping the financial pressures and consumer debt that caused them. In difficult times, the Church reflects on the hope and comfort found in the inspirational words of the Bible. 

Do not live in the short term

It can be hard to see beyond the here and now. In reality, there is more to life than the current financial downturn. If we can view the bigger picture, there is more to look forward to, and feel positive about.

Romans 5:1-5

"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."

There is more to life than money

Everyone needs money for life's essentials, but it is important not to make earning money our number one priority. Focusing on what is really important in life helps us keep money worries under control.

Matthew 6:25-33

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or  'What will we drink?' or  'What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

There is more to life than jobs

Even though work defines us in a job description, we must remember that we all mean a lot more to God than that.

Luke 19:1-10

"He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.' So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, 'He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.' Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, 'Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.'"

Do not be defined by money

In a similar way, we get used to awarding ourselves a status based on the amount of money we earn. In God's eyes, our status is constant and there is nothing we can do to stop Him loving us.

Matthew 6:19-21

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Still give something back

Redundancy is becoming a reality for many thousands of people. Coping with losing a job can be hard and finding a new one even harder, but the skills and achievements that people acquire as they use their God-given gifts and talents are still there, needed and wanted. Often there are opportunities in the community or in charities to continue to give and serve, and sometimes these can be a good way of continuing to contribute and be appreciated, as the search for a new job after redundancy goes on.

Mark 12:41-44

"He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, 'Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

Count your blessings

Despite the current financial climate, there are many things to remain thankful for, and it does us all good to think about them frequently and give thanks.

Luke 1:46-55

"And Mary said,
'My soul magnifies the Lord,
   and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
   Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
   and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
   from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
   he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
   and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
   and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
   in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
   to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.'"

Recommended reading

Moving Towards Emmaus: Hope in a Time of Uncertainty by David Smith (SPCK)

Walking with God on the Road you Never Wanted to Travel by Mark Atteberry (Thomas Nelson)

A Sacred Sorrow - Meeting God in the Lost Language of Lament by Michael Card (NAV Press)

Finding Fullness Again: What the Book of Ruth Teaches Us About Starting Over by Ralph Douglas West (B&H Publishing)

Bible passages taken from the New Revised Standard Version

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www.freedigitalphotos.net

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