News headlines are always scary. The Covid pandemic seems as if it will never be eradicated, what with Delta evolving into Omicron. Economic news cries of supply chain constraints and rampant inflation. Inflation hasn’t been this bad since the early 1980’s. And Russia is massing troops on the Ukrainian border. The stock market has succumbed to all this negativity by declining for the month of January. There’s an old investment adage that says as January goes, so goes the rest of the year. What’s in store for 2022?
As I was reading through some of my older posts, Pursuing Money published in July 2009 caught my attention. The specific issues then are different from today’s challenges. In 2009, banks and brokerage firms were going bankrupt. Citigroup, GM, and other major corporations needed government bail-outs. The “Axis of Evil” Iran, Iraq, and North Korea continued to export their terrorism. I can’t help but wonder, as Yogi Bera famously said, is it:
Deja vu all over again?
Scary news headlines are legion now as they were then. As I asked in the 2009 post, how do you react to all of this? Are you at risk of allowing the negativity to paralyze you into inaction? Please, no! What we can not do is despair and do nothing. You know what happened to the servant who buried the treasure his master gave him (Mt. 25:24-30). You don’t want to hear our master say those nasty words, “You wicked servant.” Instead, we should strive to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” How do we get that response?
Again, as I said in 2009, all we can do is control our reactions. We can not control the stock market or Russian military maneuvers. We can’t control the weather. But, we can maintain hope and portray a positive countenance about our future. We can take intentional steps to make the future better for others and for ourselves. Try these action items:
- Acknowledge that God is omniscient. He is with us. He is in control. He loves us.
- Humbly put Him first in every area of your life – including with your finances.
- Give courageously to those charities that feed, clothe, house, educate, and protect the poor and innocent.
- Be prudent with your investments. #Diversify risks by investing across broad categories of asset classes – stocks, bonds, real estate, #gold, and maybe even cryptocurrencies.
- And don’t worry so much! Jesus tells us 4 times in Matthew 6:24-34 to stop worrying, to not be anxious, but rather to seek first the kingdom of God (see 1-3 above).
We’ve made it this far; through market crashes of the dot-com bubble of 2001 and the financial collapse of 2008, and muddled through a flat 2015. Some investment theorists suggest the market moves in 7-year cycles. What does that mean for 2022? I don’t know. Mark Twain is often credited with saying, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.”
Whatever comes this year, by God’s grace we’ll make it through. So, put Him first, giving Him all praise, glory, and honor. Give and trust Him to provide all you need. Give courageously in grateful response for all the blessings He gives to you. When we seek God first and give, we become a part of the mission of the church, a part of something bigger and more majestic than ourselves. In that we find the peace, contentment, and happiness we truly seek.