My phone has been buzzing with news updates about the recent dips in the stock market, and many of my Christian friends have been abuzz with concerns about an apparently prophetically-foretold financial collapse. In their estimation, all signs point to some sort of American economic catastrophe that is supposed to happen in September this year and discipline our nation for our sin.
In my prayers about what I’m seeing and sensing from the Lord, I have three questions for my brothers and sisters to consider:
What are you rooting for?
What are you doing about what you believe?
What God are you serving?
#1) What Are You Rooting For?
Am I the only one who feels there’s a problem when Christians are excited about catastrophe rather than praying against it? Am I the only one whose spirit is troubled by fellow believers reveling in impending calamity and supposed “judgment” on a nation?
And if that’s not you, perhaps you’re one of those who isn’t excited about what’s apparently coming but is rather filled with fear about what the future has in store. Perhaps you’re stockpiling food or pulling your money out of the banks. Whether you realize it or not, by worrying about the future, you are actually putting more trust in the economy than you are in God because you expect the economy to have a greater effect on your life than God.
Matthew 6:31–32 — So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (NIV)
For that matter, what rich person these days doesn’t have a diversified portfolio with foreign investments, lots of solid assets, and plenty of financial safeguards? In other words, if God is actually going to crash the American economy to discipline us, why would He do it in a way that severely hurts the poor and middle class but merely dents the rich? And why would such a “judgment” affect the Christians? Aren’t the plagues of Egypt evidence that God’s people are left untouched by any God-ordained calamity?
What are you rooting for? What are you anticipating? Calamity? or the Fatherhood of a merciful God? What’s so Christian about passively anticipating an event that will mostly hurt the poor, including faithful Christians?
And that brings me to my next question…
#2) What Are You Doing about What You Believe?
Check out what happened at the church in Antioch when disaster was prophetically foretold:
Acts 11:27–30 — During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. (NIV)
If you’re convinced that financial collapse is imminent, my question is whether you have sent as much of your money as possible to Gospel-oriented, humanitarian-aid charities like Convoy of Hope or if instead you’re merely stockpiling for yourself and your own family.
The biblical response to a prophetically-foretold disaster is to preemptively give of your own resources to help all those believers who are not aware of what’s coming. Notice that the prophetic word was given in Antioch, and that’s why they sent an offering to the churches in Judea. There are plenty of Christians who haven’t heard the message that you believe is from God. Are you filling the accounts of Christian charities in preparation? Or are you only filling your own pantry?
#3) What God Are You Serving?
Are you serving a God who treats people as their sins deserve? Or are you serving a God who does not treat us as our sins deserve?
Psalm 103:8,10 — The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love… He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. (NIV)
When James and John asked Jesus about a warranted opportunity to destroy a village who didn’t receive their message, “…He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them'” (Luke 9:55-56, NKJV).
Do you know what manner of spirit you are of?
You Belong to a Different Kingdom
As citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, our role in the earth is redemptive. The real Christian doesn’t stockpile food and condescendingly nod an “I told you so” to the world. The real Christian doesn’t fear disaster but rests in the confidence that their heavenly Father will provide for their needs if they will simply seek His Kingdom ahead of their own desires (Matthew 6:33). The real Christian prays against calamity and — if he or she senses that calamity to be inevitable — does whatever possible to preemptively help those who don’t see it coming.
For the record, I do not believe there is an inevitable, God-ordained financial collapse coming this September. So either God forgot to tell me or I’m not hearing Him (and I’m willing to humbly admit if I’m wrong). On the other hand, if there is indeed a collapse in September, I’ll have to wonder if it’s because the Church passively accepted it as inevitable and actually caused it.
Did it ever occur to you that we might bring this on ourselves? I think there are two possible ways:
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy — What if there were enough Christians convinced that this prophetic word was true that we all yanked our money out of the banks and stock market in fear and actually caused an economic collapse? Is it possible that some of this late-August dip is really only the result of fearful Christians believing a false word rather than the result of China or Obama (or whatever else your politics or eschatology tell you)?
Misused Authority — I’m not a “positive confession” guy, but if you’re a Christian, your words do still carry weight because you are seated with Jesus on His heavenly throne. (See Ephesians 2:6) God didn’t let one of Samuel’s words fall to the ground, which implies that Samuel could have even been wrong and God would have backed him up. (See 1 Samuel 3:19). What if the primary voice coming from those of us who believe in present-day Christian prophecy is one of destruction rather than redemption? And what if our convictions about this lead us to stop praying for our nation (and world) to experience the blessing of the Lord?
The word “amen” means “so be it.” While we may not be saying the literal word “amen” to financial collapse, I have to wonder how many of us are proclaiming a silent “so be it” through our acceptance of (what I believe to be) a false prophecy that is contrary to the heart of God.
A Better Way
It would be wrong of me to point out issues without offering a positive course of action. Here are my three recommendations for moving forward as followers of Jesus:
Seek God’s Kingdom First and Trust the Lord’s Provision. Your job is to look after God’s desires (souls), and His job is to take care of yours (for more on this, check out the article “Real Relationship with Jesus“). That’s not to say that you shouldn’t provide for your family or earthly matters; it simply means that your aim in all things should be to exalt Jesus in the world (and don’t worry about what will happen tomorrow).
Trust and Serve God, Not Money. Money will fail you, but God never will. Technically, the American dollar truly is inflated with empty air and is due to collapse someday for non-prophetic reasons, so make the most of what you have while you can. Don’t store up treasures on earth; store them up in heaven. (See Matthew 6:19-21.) And that leads us to the third instruction:
Live Generously. Use your money to bless people and make friends. (See Luke 16:9.) Don’t focus only on your own needs, but consider the needs of others. (See Philippians 2:4.) Give to those believers who are in need so that they can give to you when you are in need. (See 2 Corinthians 8:14.) And do so sacrificially so that you can excel in the grace of giving. (See 2 Corinthians 8:1-7.)
Pick a Side
What manner of spirit are you of? Is it the Holy Spirit? (You know, the One who empowers us to represent Jesus in this world, proclaiming and demonstrating God’s forgiveness and redemption.) Or is it some other spirit? (Like one who might wish judgment on a nation and discourage prayer or action against it.)
Consider your answer carefully, because our future truly does depend on it.
Be blessed, –Art