This last week, the corporate bonds of General Motors and Ford Motor Company were reduced to junk status.
Now becoming BB-rated or worse doesn't mean a company is about to go bankrupt. That said, having the bonds of two of America's largest companies reduced to junk status should give us pause.
I tend to carp on business issues here at Cerulean Sanctum, but for good reason. When people lose jobs, the Church in this country handles it terribly. Every family in a church needs an income. Many people in our churches spend more time at their jobs than anything else they do in a week, yet the Church in America's silence on the business world is deafening.
So why are churches not preparing for the next economic downturn? What do we have in place to ensure every family within our churches will be taken care of should financial disaster hit? Time and again I look around and see blissful ignorance rather than a discerning of the times. It's as if we can't possibly bring ourselves to mention the 800 lb. gorilla in the room lest it tear us to pieces. That kind of Pollyanna-ish thinking is not the wisdom of serpents, but of doves. The way I read the Bible, that's not what it says in Matthew 10:16. Too often the children of this world are more shrewd than the children of God. This should never be the case.
So we twiddle our thumbs and rest contented in our lack of preparedness to deal with bad economic times. It was only recently that we had a prolonged economic downtown. Half the people I know lost their jobs in that time, including both my wife and me. The number one prayer request in the church we attended at that time was for jobs, and yet the church did little to address the need.
Listen, God can take care of the widows and orphans on His own if He wants to. But He chose the Church to be His means of grace to those unfortunates. The Church needs to always have a way in place for whatever need is out there. And again, there is no more pressing need than for people to have jobs, or in lieu of this, have people who will draw alongside the unemployed, help them find work, or take care of their financial burden when there is no work to be found.
There is no reason why your church does not know where you work. There is no reason why your church has not identified individuals within your congregation who can make employment hiring decisions. There is no reason why your church is not collecting funds to sustain families within the church during a financial crisis. There is no reason why small groups are not considering ways to support each other should some in the group lose their jobs. There is no reason to continue to ignore alternative community living that can better buffer us Christians against hard times. Yet for some reason the numbers of churches doing this is pitifully small. This is something that should be occuring in every church. Not only that, but I believe that this should extend across state lines from one church to another. If we are not networked in this way, then the area of the country that suffers the worst downturn cannot be helped by the area that stayed relatively immune from it. If things got bad in Detroit should the car industry there turn south, would we expect only Detroit-area churches to bear that burden?
The Church of Jesus Christ should always be on the crest of the wave, not floundering in the backwash. We need sober-minded people to start working out these issues in every church in this country. Not only will we benefit those within our congregations by doing this, but as the supposed "ants" of this world, we must have a better answer for the unsaved "grasshoppers" out there than "Tough luck."
The Church shines brightest in the darkest times. Are we ready to shine that light?