Certainty in uncertain times
Not far from our home there is a station with a sign
boasting gas at 15 cents a gallon. It’s true. Of course, the station no longer
dispenses actual fuel. It’s a roadside attraction on old Route 66, one of the
many minimuseums that keep the history of the old route alive.
Gas prices that low are clearly history. The price of gas is
breaking family budgets, especially for commuters, and keeping people close to
home for vacations.
Rising food costs have also stretched purchasing power
Overseas, missionaries have been challenged by the economy.
Some donors have cut back on missions and other charitable giving, and a weak
U.S. dollar means missions budgets aren’t going as far as they once did.
Though strapped families find it difficult to know where to
cut back, most can save money if they look hard enough. Our standard of living,
as a nation, is higher than ever. People in Third World countries consider our
middle class wealthy.
Many people maintain expensive habits, even while struggling
financially. Cutting out cable or satellite television and expensive specialty
coffees can save a bundle. Other similar measures can help. There is no need to
keep up with the Joneses.
Hard-hit families need to resist the temptation to beat the
economy’s downturn by running up the balance on charge cards. Now, more than
ever, people need to resolve to live within their means. If they don’t, their
own financial crises could continue even after the economy bounces back.
There are areas where Christians shouldn’t cut back, such as
tithes, missions giving and trust.
Tithes belong to the Lord. Missionaries are making do with
less while continuing to win souls. And never cut back on your trust. Trust God
to meet your needs.
Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat
or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. … Your heavenly Father knows
that you need them” (Matthew 6:25,32, NIV).
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