As we saw in the first part of “Hard Times,” we need an unshakable principle in place if the bottom drops out from under us financially or economically. Tough times may drive those without a strong anchor of truth to lie, cheat or steal in order to survive.
That principle can be expressed in this scripture: “his heart is fixed trusting in the Lord.” (Psalm 112:7) You might say that’s great for a start but how does that translate into practical strategies and day-to-day decisions? God is much more practical than we might suppose. Let’s see what he has to say on the subject.
Preparing in advance for the inevitability of lean times is a very smart move AND a very biblical thing to do. It might not be too late even if things are beginning to slide or the future already looks bleak.
Don’t be embarrassed to take some hints from someone smaller (but maybe wiser) than yourself.
“Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest. How long will you stay in bed, you slacker? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit.” (Proverbs 6:6-11 HCSB)
Evaluate yourself in terms of your money management skills and your work ethic. Be honest. If this is not your strong suite it is time to get some help. If you are in debt it is time to get out. If you have overspent it is time to cultivate fiscal discipline. If you have never saved consistently it is time to start. If you are lackadaisical about work it is time to be industrious.
None of this is easy. It is very hard work but not as hard as losing a house or filing bankruptcy or facing shame and embarrassment because you are not properly prepared.
It may seem counter intuitive to suggest giving as a hedge of protection against want but it is never the less a spiritual law and it WORKS. There are special promises for those who give that are badly needed in times of economic drought.
“Happy is one who cares for the poor; the Lord will save him in a day of adversity. The Lord will keep him and preserve him; he will be blessed in the land. You will not give him over to the desire of his enemies. The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed; You will heal him on the bed where he lies.” (Psalm 41: 1-3 HCSB)
Examine the three fold promises here and see if you don’t want to be eligible for them. One who cares for the poor will be saved from adversity and blessed in provision (which is what “the land” represents). He will be protected from enemies and will be preserved with good health. During tough times, don’t stop giving. If anything, give more!
It is during difficult times that true integrity shows. It’s easy to be honest and upright when no pressures are there to suggest otherwise. But God calls us to the highest code of ethics regardless. Remember with God nothing is done in secret. He sees every financial detail of every financial decision.
“You must not have two different weights in your bag, one heavy and one light. You must not have two differing dry measures in your house, a larger and a smaller. You must have a full and honest weight, a full and honest dry measure, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. For everyone who does such things and acts unfairly is detestable to the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 25:13-16 HCSB)
There is a saying that tough times don’t last but tough people do. I agree with the part about tough times not lasting. Most people will see many economic cycles in their lifetime. Since we have to go through both lean and fat times, better to make the most of both. By observing God’s principles one thing we won’t have to skimp on are his rich rewards.