Quotations regarding our economy harvested from the media this week:
“Expect to see more troubled times on Wall Street this year….”
“We foresee more corporate shut downs….expect a bloodbath of closures…”
I’ll let just two of the many dark and pessimistic forecasts suffice. I’m sure you are just as sick of hearing the bad news of the economy as I am.
It comes in the morning making our first cup of java bitter and acidic.
It comes up with every google and yahoo headline as we navigate through e-mail and search engines.
The local and national TV news broadcast updates…..as if we need it….to make our supper take on something of a Passover-esque bitter herb taste.
But I do have to admit, this climate has had some positive effects for me. I have learned to conserve, to cut back and in some cases to cut out things I can do without. At this point I would say that I have obtained some good life skills through it all.
But I am not one to leave well enough alone. I have let this “cut-back” thinking creep into my spiritual perspective as well. Like my tendency to get carried away with Spring cleaning my garage. I seem to lose my perspective and sensible restraint and then wind up putting things out at the curb that I later realize I still need.
So the rub here is that I have begun to think God’s plans for me and my ministry are somehow in need of scaling back because of the general context of conserving and a “slow-down economy”.
I’ve had to remind myself that a “slow-down” economy doesn’t equal a “slow-down” God. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have my head in the sand that financial issues have no effect on our Kingdom work in this very earthly situation we find ourselves in. There are things however…..the most important things….which contribute to living LARGE not small.
So I find myself contemplating an oft read passage (Romans 13-15) and see a theme emerge. It is a theme about living LARGE in a context which screams smallness. Paul speaks in a time of Empire when people were taxed and oppressed by a Roman machine that drained personal resources dry. It would have been easy to live in that era with a strategy of looking out for one’s own affairs to the exclusion of thinking of others. It would have been easy to go conservative….to disengage with relationships which might drain one’s resources even more. When times are hard there is a tendency to cocoon, to hunker down….which is, of course just going into neutral. In Kingdom language, this means going backwards. There is no such things as idling on the King’s highway.
So we move forward. We live LARGE. We become the enormous exception in a world of cautious cut-backs and stymied shutdowns.
What does it mean for God’s people to live LARGE? These following ideas are harvested from Romans 13:8-15:7.
We live large by loving.….even if it costs and we get no return on our investment. Rom. 13: 8-10
We live large by our attentiveness to living with an awareness of the competency of God for every age and every circumstance. Rom. 13: 11-14
We live large by the high premium we place on relationships….with those with whom we agree and those with whom we don’t. Rom. 14:1-11
We live large by the determination to live a life of godliness….acting in the way God does by building bridges to help one another achieve godliness rather than placing barriers which make it difficult. Rom.14:12-23
We live large by our expectancy of hope because this is God’s specialty. Rom. 15: 1-7
The greatest thing about this strategy is that it is not dependent on the world’s economy. The resources to live LARGE are not in short supply.
So live. Live LARGE. Times like these call for us to be obvious, visible and intentional.
Bigger than life.
To God’s glory.