We must share during our economic depression

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 24, 2009

Last week I began a brief series of articles on the theme, “The Bible and Our Economic Depression.” The topic of my first article was “God Cares in Our Economic Depression.” My Bible emphasis for today is that we must share with others during this economic depression.

All will be affected to some degree by this depression. Some may face only minor adjustments. Some will have to make major adjustments. Some may call their experiences devastating. With Social Security, Medicare, and maybe other retirement income or savings, the older senior adults may be able to weather this depression better than some others. Some persons will have employment that may be secure. Some have their homes paid for and a place for a garden. Some will lose their jobs, income, medical insurance and some material possessions. Some of this has already happened. Other financial foundations we are standing on will crumble in the future. I refer you to last week’s article about God’s care, God’s presence and God’s promises to provide necessities for obedient believers.

The Federal Government has taken steps and the new Obama Administration and Congress will take steps to seek to provide some immediate help and to turn the economy around. Government unemployment insurance will be of help for some. The Food Stamp program may be of help. Some persons and families can and will possibly respond with financial help to the needs in the larger family. Others hopefully will find different employment.

But even with sources of help as mentioned above, there will be persons and families who will simply fall through the cracks of safety nets. So here is the focus of this Simple Truth article today: We must share with others in need during this economic depression.

The Bible speaks pointedly to us about this kind of sharing. In 1 John 3:17 the Bible says to us, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in that person?” Then in James 2:16-18 God says, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed’, but does nothing about his physical needs; what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Jesus said, “Love your neighbors as you do yourself.” In Matthew 7:12, Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” God’s word speaks loud, clear and direct to us about sharing during this economic depression. So let’s consider some questions about sharing that may help us toward personal involvement.

First, who should share? Those of us who have more income or possessions than our necessities of life require should share from our overage. Start a personal fund for this purpose and add to it monthly from your overage. This is “planned and prepared” stewardship for sharing. Jesus said some persons are only building larger barns to store their overage for selfish pleasure and purposes awaiting death and judgment to wipe it all out (See Luke 12:16-21). Also, those of us who could deny ourselves unnecessary luxuries should share. Those who could give time, abilities or skills should share. Those who can think of other ways to share should act.

Second, with whom should we share? There are some faithful and trusted agencies that operate as your representatives to share with those in need. I believe no agency in our county does this better than the Chilton County Emergency Assistance Center. They can best use cash for food bank purchasing and your good used clothing. There are other agencies in our county as well as area agencies like the Salvation Army. Then you may be impressed to share directly and personally with individuals or families you know or find out about from neighbors, friends or through your church.

Third, when should we share? Maybe some good rules here would be: help those who absolutely cannot help themselves; help those who need it most; and help when it will do the most good. I think the Good Samaritan followed all three rules.

We are responsible for persons in financial crises. Persons will not be hard to find now and in the months ahead. May the Lord use this article to challenge individuals, families and churches to share with those facing a financial crisis.