This is the three-minute talk I presented at College Church on June 14, 2009. A longer version for print will be coming.
By Stan Guthrie © 2009
On May 19, which I now call “Black Tuesday,” my bosses gave me the news. One was fighting back tears, the other glum. Because of economic conditions, my job was being eliminated. As I tried to process what was happening through my sudden mental numbness, it began to sink in that I, my wife of 22 years, and our three children were suddenly facing a very uncertain future.
My story is far from unique. About 8.5 million people in the United States today are receiving unemployment insurance, and the jobless rate has grown from less than 8 percent in January to 9.4 percent in June. Some economists predict it could reach 11 percent by next summer.
Now I’m no expert on joblessness (and hope never to become one). But as a follower of Jesus, I am beginning to learn some vital spiritual lessons—whether I want to or not. Here are five. Perhaps they will help you, too.
First, respond like a Christian. What difference does Christ make when the chips are down? Can people see any difference in me? Am I willing to follow Jesus wherever he leads—even to the unemployment line?
When the late Tony Snow learned that he had contracted cancer, he heard a quiet voice whisper, “You have been called.” I too have heard this voice. Unemployment, every bit as much as employment, is a calling.
Second, resolve not to become angry or bitter. When “the worst thing that could happen” happens, God is still there.
Third, rest in the truth that God comforts us in our afflictions so that we can comfort others in theirs.
Fourth, receive gratefully the kindness of others. Friends across the street are picking up low-cost groceries for us at their church. Another bought and installed more memory for our ailing computer. Others pray, buy lunch, share job leads, and help with faxes and resumes.
We are learning in ways large and small what it means to be members of Christ’s body.
Fifth, reach out to God and expect his blessing. God has promised to provide what we need. That might involve a better job with higher pay (though again it might not). If it does, praise his goodness; but if, in his mercy, it doesn’t, praise his goodness anyway. The blessing may simply be more of him, and that will be more than enough.