I’m not much of a prophet. I’m more like an acolyte. (No I did not say a cola lite.) Nevertheless, I do follow current events and I have read a history book or two, including the Old Testament. History has a way of nagging at me about our country’s current economic malaise. In other words, if the past is a portent of the future, I think it possible that things could get much worse in America. A worsening economy is possible if corruption and self-seeking values have reached critical mass in the hearts of the people, leaders in business and government, and especially believers. Yes I know there are still many good people who live and work without succumbing to guile and avarice. The question is: Have we reached a tipping point? I don’t know the answer for certain, but it’s time we at least acknowledge that it is indeed possible.
If the economy worsens, how will the church respond? I haven’t heard church leaders talking about this very much. Most churches seem to be hunkering down while trying to ride out the storm so they can get back to business as usual. But what if there is no return to business as usual, at least for the foreseeable future? I don’t know if the Lord is smiting our economy or we are just reaping what we’ve sowed. It’s probably the latter . . . or both.
It would be prudent for the church to start talking about ways we can prepare to help believers and our local communities should things get worse, even dire. You know, do some emergency planning. I’m not talking about buying a fortified compound in Montana and stockpiling canned goods, ammunition, and water purification systems. I’m talking about collective soul-searching and modest planning.
First, it’s very important for believers to ask ourselves if we have been unfaithful to God. That is, have we made other treasures more important to us than God? If so, the only proper response is prayerful contrition and reorientation of our priorities. We have to fall in love with God all over again, make him our only first love, and set aside our idols. If we sincerely return to God, I believe he desires to restore our spiritual and tangible blessings.
If we have not been unfaithful to God, then we simply need to prepare to help believers and our local communities with things like food, clothing, shelter, medical care, job-finding assistance, and counseling. Each church doesn’t have to do it all, just do something. I admire churches that offer simple services like food banks and second-hand clothing distribution because providing such services helps the church get in shape should life get tougher for our fellow citizens. Waiting to the last minute to provide for physical needs means a sharp learning curve. I don’t know about you, but I despise sharp learning curves.