Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Adult Sunday School Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/bb/bb20081005.htm
Responding Biblically To The World Financial Crisis
(Matthew 6:24-34; Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 et al.)
Lesson: In response to the world financial crisis, may we trust God and not wealth for our livelihood security, and so heed His Word on earning, budgeting and investing what we earn without anxiety.
- The current world financial crisis has led millions of people, including believers I know, to be concerned.
- In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul revealed that all the insight believers need for every godly work in the Church era exists in Scripture, so we view applicable passages for God's edifying direction regarding this crisis:
- Responding Biblically To The World Financial Crisis, Matthew 6:24-34; Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 et al.
- First, Matthew 6:24-34 calls us to replace trusting in money with trusting God for livelihood security:
- Jesus called His disciples not to be anxious about any physical livelihood needs, Matthew 6:25.
- This Matthew 6:25 call is introduced by the word, "Therefore", to show it rose out of Christ's Matthew 6:24 revelation that we can not serve God and money; accordingly, we must stop depending on money as our "god" and rely instead on our Creator God HIMSELF to supply all our livelihood needs!
- Jesus revealed that the physical life is more important than one's material possessions (Matt. 6:25c), and since God provides by natural means to feed the birds, which food birds do not acquire with money (Matt. 6:26a), He will provide for His people who are worth far more than the birds, Matthew 6:26b!
- Also, worry will not add one moment to one's life span, so it is futile to worry, Matt. 6:27 ESV, NIV.
- Regarding our need for clothing, God clothes the lilies of the field that soon die and are of such little value that they are cast into the oven, and He clothes them with greater beauty than even Solomon had though lilies do not make any clothes, Matt. 6:28-30. It is thus faithless to fret over clothes, Matt. 6:30.
- Thus, we are not to worry like the world does about our livelihood, but seek God's kingdom and His righteousness as our first priority, and all our livelihood needs will be met, Matt. 6:31-33; Ibid., p. 21.
- So, instead of worrying about tomorrow's needs, tomorrow will present enough livelihood issues for us to have to address at that time, Matthew 6:34 NIV, ESV; Ibid.
- Second, upon choosing to rely upon God and not money for our livelihood SECURITY, we still must heed God's call responsibly to work to earn an income, 2 Thess alonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 5:8.
- Once we earn our income, we must sensibly, Biblically budget it (in most cases monthly) as follows:
- The first priority in budgeting is to pay our debts, for debts are legally binding obligations, and the believer must obey all of man's laws in submission to God's will, cf. 1 Peter 2:13; Romans 13:6-8a.
- After meeting our debt obligations, we can choose to give to God the amount we set, 2 Cor. 9:6-8, noting that God wants us to use what we need for livelihood needs such as food, clothing and housing.
- God reimburses us to meet our living costs and to allow us to keep giving to His causes, 2 Cor. 9:9-11.
- Then, especially in view of world financial crises, having trusted in God, we must heed His investing directives in Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 that apply to both good and bad financial markets (as follows):
- To maximize gain, we must invest boldly, i.e., aggressively, Eccl. 11:1a NIV ["Cast your bread upon the waters" is "A metaphorical expression taken from the grain trade of a seaport town, illustrating the successful prospects of a bold business venture," Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Eccles. 11:1.]
- [What money we then need in the short-term must be invested conservatively, not aggressively!]
- Now, aggressive investments in the short-term have steep up and down swings in value, and face the risk of loss, but since only God knows what will occur to them, we must heed His will in Eccl. 11:2-6:
- Invest in bold ventures for the long-term, 11:1b. [The short-term value swings of good, diversified, bold investments are nullified in the long-term since the good ones greatly rise in value over time.]
- We must diversify our bold investments, 11:2-3. [Some bold ventures fail and others greatly gain, so investing in sufficiently different ventures maximizes our profits and covers our losses.]
- We must not try to time bold investments, but just stay invested, 11:4-5. Missing the 10 best days in a recent decade, what a time could do, would have cost him 1/3 of the market's total gains, and the Hulbert Financial Digest reports 28 of 29 timing strategies were beaten by staying invested!
- We must regularly add to our investments to cut our losses and maximize our gains, Eccles. 11:6.