Last week, President Bush spoke to the nation in an effort to ease the fears of the American people who seem anxious about the financial crisis our country is facing. He really didn't say very much that could be deemed as comforting.
The newspapers across America all have headlines detailing accounts of a staggering economy. Reports verify seven hundred billion dollars of investor money has been wiped out in just one week.
You add to all of that the impact of the recent Hurricane Ike that hit the gulf coast and the train wreck in California. Unless you have endured one of these natural events, or had opportunity to visit the site of one of these devastated areas, it is nearly impossible to know what the folks who have been affected are going through.
If you are a Pastor, this weekend you will stand before your people who have been exposed to these very things. What do you say to them? How do you help them cope with their fears? I'm sure you have thought about this, but one of the major responsibilities is to comfort and guide your people.
The first thing you should counsel is not to panic. Our faith is in God, not in money. We have all been in these tight spots before and we will survive this challenge. Be patient.
The second thing we must do is encourage one another. Do not despair. We, as believers in Christ, have a marvelous opportunity in this time of crisis to show where our foundations are strongest.
Be wise. Make the best decisions you can to minimize your losses. Keep your credit card debt low. Save instead of spend and turn to trusted counsel.
Increase your faith practices. Don't miss church. Sing, worship, pray, read, and assemble. Be in places where you will feel protected, not threatened. "Give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thess. 5:18).
Remember that God knows your situation. He cares. Do not fret. Jesus says, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?" (Matt. 6:27). Paul writes, "May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way" (2 Thess. 3:16).
[H. B. London, Jr.]