new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

What happens when it all falls apart?

“The worst crisis (in finance) since World War 2” – that’s how one expert described the impact of the failure of the US investment bank Bear Stearns. Perhaps an overstatement, since we live in a world where ‘the worst’ is always something that revolves around us, and never something that happened a few decades ago.

Yet given the nature of the global village we live in, what happens in America will impact here. €3.5bn was wiped of the value of Irish stocks on an otherwise glorious St Patrick’s Day. Even before that the construction industry was feeling the pinch, laying off builders and holding off on new houses.

It might be the best thing for Ireland. We’ve not really had money before as a country. It’s new to us. We’re like little kids in a sweet factory – over indulging, grabbing all we can. And now it’s all about to blow up in our face.

The problem is that money is a substitute – our hearts are wired to seek something that will fulfil us and our needs and desires. Money looks like a likely candidate but it can’t take the strain. It will ultimately disappoint. And when it has sucked you dry it will spit you out, either broke, or dissatisfied with all your toys.

When we try to fill a God-shaped hole in our souls with a thing-shaped object there will always be gaps where dissatisfaction seeps through. We can plug the gaps with more money and things for a while, but then either something happens that money can’t mask or fix, or the money runs out, and we find ourselves standing with our lives in ruins around us.

And that might be the best thing for us, because it will take us away from what can’t fulfil, and point us to who can fulfil.

That’s why Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” – Matthew 6:19-20

So if it takes a recession to make Irish people realise that they have been selling themselves short, and to point them to a wealth that far exceeds and outlasts anything here, then it would be a good thing. But it would be good to learn that lesson without going through all that loss. What will it take for you to listen?