Bev Murrill comments on the current financial crisis
Disbelief would be an understatement! This has been a really different kind of year. Crises of every sort are coming thick and fast as banks go bankrupt, natural disasters wreak havoc, major corporations go belly up and western governments try desperately to hold their nations steady in the face of rising panic. It's certainly a very bad time to be in the insurance business. It's easy to take pot shots at our national leaders, but who would be mad enough to swap places with the heads of government in this economic climate!?
In the midst of it all, ordinary people like us struggle to work out what the state of our nation is going to mean for ourselves and our families. We look for a way forward that will not only ensure our own security but also the safety of our finances, homes and even our holidays. Our lifestyle is in jeopardy and we don't know what to do about it.
After the lazy hazy crazy days of relative financial freedom, we are now in a position that a few canny souls predicted but most thought would never happen. Insecurity is the mood of the current climate and the pressure on Jo Average who worries about the gas bills and whether she can keep paying her mortgage in the face of rising interest and low house prices is every bit as heavy as it is on the Finance Minister who is trying whatever fancy footwork he can muster to keep his country from going broke.
In the book of Hebrews (12:26) God says that He is going to shake the earth and the heavens. The meaning of that obscure verse is that if things on earth are shaken, only eternal things will be left. It's hard to know whether to be reassured by that or see it as an even greater level of threat to our security. We definitely agree that the fatcats of our society need a bit of a shaking to help them wake up to themselves; they have it coming to them. But if anyone suggested that we might also be fatcats we would strenuously deny it. We all think that what we have and how we live is reasonable and normal - it's only the people who have more than us that have too much.
The problem is that 80% of the world's resources are used by 20% of the world's population and most of the readers of this article are in the favoured 20%. We have more than enough food (have you checked out the national obesity index lately), petrol might be pricey but we have very little problem getting to and fro, our lifestyle may be under threat but our lives are not in danger. All in all, despite the possible loss of exotic holidays and disposable income, we are doing pretty well.
God is an equaliser! We may feel ok about switching the channel when we see something awful happening in another part of the world, or choosing to turn away when we see a need that we could easily meet with a bit of sacrifice on our own behalf, but right at the beginning of everything He challenged humankind to be their brother's keeper! He's not impressed that the West's attempts to solve its fuel crisis by using corn oil has meant that the poorest of the poor can no longer afford their diet of one meal a day; we forget they were eating that corn! He doesn't accept that it's just the status quo when a family on one side of the border spends a fortune on entertainment while a family living a few miles away struggles to stay alive.
Our greatest problem is not the economy or terrorism or the state of our bank balance. What we are facing is cold hard fear; fear of losing our lifestyle. As the dominos fall around us, we become afraid of what might happen next especially if our lifestyle is in the way when it happens.
Fear is a variety of faith carrying within itself the power to torture us, and acting as a magnet to draw to itself what we are afraid of. The only way to combat fear is through a mindset change. By that I mean that we stop getting our security out of what we have and own and begin to get it from living a life that is larger than our own perceived needs. Looking for ways to make a difference with what you have has a powerful effect on fear. You won't have to look very far.
The world is changing; make a choice to be a change agent in it. You can make a difference!The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
View all articles by Bev Murrill