January 28, 2009

Procession in Recession

Processions are what happen at graduations, weddings, and other noble events. It is a serious, significant, and happy move forward to a new place. I want a Procession in my Recession. 

Recessions are tough for sure. Especially on the folks that I pastor. The urban poor feel the brunt of this in disproportionate ways. With low end jobs they are often the first to be let go. With no savings to fall back on and limited resources available in their extended family, they are soon in the welfare line to grab what little they can. My comments today are not directed to them.

My comments are aimed at the rest of us who have more than we need but less than we want. 

Procession in Recession...I believe with God's help we can move forward in significant ways during economic downturns. Here are a few thoughts I have on moving ahead when your standard of living is falling behind: 

1. It forces an analysis of our spending patterns. Every dollar for a Christian is a sacred trust, one that we take too lightly too often. Squandering money on unnecessary things easily becomes a habit...a habit that is only broken when necessity forces a deeper concentration on every dollar.

2. It can bring a detachment from things to a deeper attachment to people. A 30 dollar trip to the movie can be replaced with a free trip someones house for a game of Scrabble. 

3. Replacing a habit of replacement with an act of rejuvenation. We have become the "throw away and buy a new one" generation. Very few things are repaired and kept. While it is true that things are manufactured that way these days to force continual spending- we can break the automatic reflex we have developed and seek to repair what we have. And we can seek to only buy things with greater longevity. 

4. A simplification of pleasures...we have become an unimaginative lot and to access other people's imaginations cost you money...think cable tv, movies, computer games, entertainment parks, dvd's, etc. Recession can help us rediscover our own imaginations and find joy in the simple. 

5. A rediscovery of what is free in the world...one public library has enough free entertainment to keep you busy for years...listening to pandora.com instead of subscribing to sirrius radio... samples at Costco...pedaling a bicycle...sunsets....free days at art museums...

6. A discovery of new skills. When forced to broaden one's marketability, you can discover or develop new skills that become a joy and a source of income throughout life. 

7. Deeper trust in God. When times are tough, we have the opportunity to meet God in deeper ways, to know Him more directly as provider, to be satisfied more often by HIM instead of by things. 

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