My immediate thought was that I ought to turn the wheel a hard right and drive straight into the Columbia River. (Okay. Just kidding about that. I wanted to make sure you were really paying attention because this is important, y’all.)
In case you were hiking in some remote hinterlands and didn’t hear the news — the Dow Jones industrial average dropped over 500 points on Thursday. That amounts to a loss of about $800 billion, at least on paper and anyone who has ever played Monopoly understands that real money is always counted in paper.
Yammering-heads want to know — What’s driving this market down?
I don’t know where you were during the market crash of 2008, but I was in North Carolina, likely waiting in line at a gas station, because for some totally inane reason, whenever the market tumbles, people run out and fill their fuel tanks. This is particularly true in the Bible Belt.
I don’t understand why people are compelled to buy gasoline whenever the stock market sputters, but apparently a lot of people think that when the end of the world gets here they are going to be required to drive someplace. Is there a four-lane to heaven I don’t know about?
I have a suggestion. The next time you start sweating all up underneath your arms because the Dow Jones is taking a nose dive, why don’t you sit in the comfort of your own home and read one of those books? It’ll change the way you worry.
You won’t be tempted to make a hard right and head for the river. Instead you might do what I did — turn off the yammering heads — spend a few minutes thanking God for all the abundance that’s ours.
A lot of Christians have been misbehaving in money matters. Oh, I don’t mean they’ve been swindling people, though there’s plenty of that going on in and out of the Church. What I mean is that the very people who claim to live lives of faith are being compelled by fear to hoard and worry. It’s pathetic the way Believers carry on in light of the least bit of bad news about anything. They huddle up and begin to scheme ways to keep what they have and get them some more of it.
I’m telling you right here, right now that is exactly the wrong response to a stock market nose dive.
You want to know what a Believer should do when he or she hears that the Dow Jones has dropped 500 points?
You should give some of your money away.
Give it away.
Something you don’t think you can afford.
Give it away to somebody who needs it more than you do.
Like those starving babies in Somalia.
You think they worry about the stock market? They are so hungry they don’t have enough energy to worry.
They just hope. They hope somebody, somewhere will care enough to bring them a cracker, maybe a slice of bread, a bit of water. Hope is all they have left.
The ironic thing is that for all their poverty, for all their hunger, the people in Somalia possess the one thing we so desperately need in this country — Hope.
We’ve become a nation of obese people who feast upon fear and despair.
What was it the martyr Jim Elliot said?
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.