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Moving God’s Kingdom Forward in Tough Times: Burden or Privilege?
A Special Message by
John Freeman, President HARVEST USA
I think we can all agree that, financially speaking, these are tough times. The short-term prognosis is not positive. The shrinking dollar is, well, shrinking. How are God’s people to respond, not only to the disappearing power of the dollar, but the multiplicity of stuff to spend it on? How should we think about what’s going on in our economy? What about the work of the church and the work of the kingdom through giving to our churches, missions and ministries that is being affected by this turmoil?
Let’s face it. It costs more to live today than it did a year ago. Recently I calculated that my family’s own personal expenses have increased about $250 per month from just one year ago. How was my family going to pay all the bills, with two in college, and fulfill our desire to support our church and other missionaries we’ve become burdened to support, as our own purchasing power decreased?
Fear at the Door
Fear has gripped Americans. We’re all prone to it – even God’s people. Perhaps that’s why God’s word says in hundreds of places, “Fear not.” God knows it’s our initial response to threatening circumstances; in essence, it’s a self-protective strategy we can all too easily slip into when the future seems uncertain. Recently, as I thought about the shrinking power of my own dollar and unsure of what the future holds, I became bound-up in fear. Maybe you’ve been there. It isn’t pretty.
Providentially, that same night was the night I had scheduled to pay my bills. There it was—several envelops from missionaries and organizations I normally support, after my own church. Fear gripped me. How could I possibly continue to fulfill my obligations when the future seemed so uncertain? What about my disappearing 401k?