Does God care when we lose our job?
Imagine that you got to work today and found out you no longer have a job.
That’s what happened to thousands of people this week, in the South Australian port town of Whyalla.
Well, almost. Workers at the steel mill owned by Arrium — Whyalla’s single biggest employer — were told on Thursday that the company was $2.8 billion in debt. Cough. What? Gulp. As a result, Arrium is on the brink of total shutdown, with workers staring down the barrel of unemployment and loss of entitlements. Unless a government bail-out or corporate takeover miraculously shows up some time soon.
While Whyalla-ians are yet to experience the “you don’t have a job anymore” wound, maybe you have. Especially since the Global Financial Crisis. Overnight, it seemed that job security was a thing of the past. The future was the very real prospect that economic fluctuations and blah blah blah might lead to any of us being told to not come back in on Monday.
If that has happened to you, what did you do? How did you react? Desperate times, such as when we suddenly are without a job, often can be the times when we rush to God. With loads of questions, annoyance, fear, sadness and anger.
Two things are at the bitter core of what we most want to know:
1. Why is this happening?
2. Does God even care that this is happening to me?
Don’t worry, be happy to put God first
I’m not even going to attempt to suggest that I know EXACTLY why you lost your job.
But I do know that God cares about it.
How do I know this? Because he says so. And given that the power of God’s mighty words created the universe (Genesis 1:1), and the many promises he has made are all answered in Jesus ( 2 Corinthians 1:2), God has demonstrated that what he says is trustworthy. Reliable. Dependable. Unchanging. All the things you want when you want a straight answer — and you want to know that you can count on it.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount includes stacks of famous statements. One of them involves a command to not worry, be happy. Okay, not quite. What Jesus reminds us about God is that we don’t need to worry about having things provided to us, when we put things of God ahead of everything else. Even our daily needs.
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you — you of little faith? 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. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:27-34)
Does God care about you losing your job? He sure does. But he wants us all to care more about “his kingdom and his righteousness” — living for him, his plans and purposes. Those things are like the framework of existence and we’re called to trust God knows what he’s doing with all that. Being able to trust God in that flows, then, into being able to trust that God gives us what we need. In the bad — and good — times of our life.
Need no more?
Wait. Is Jesus saying that seeking after God stuff will mean we won’t ever have to experience a giant credit-card bill or empty bank account?
No. We might go hungry or homeless or hand-to-mouth. As plenty of followers of Jesus have experienced, our daily needs might not be provided as promptly or satisfactorily as we think they should be.
That’s tough. That’s painful. That’s potentially life-threatening. Like “why did I just lose my job?”, you’d be asking a lot of questions if your daily needs were needing to be met.
Perhaps that’s you. Right now. If that is you, have a go at looking at what you do have.
At very least, what we all have is the word of a trustworthy, loving God who assures us of being there for us and, at the same time, asks us to put him ahead of ourselves. Somewhere in that almighty equation is the answer to what we need.
Photo courtesy of The Herald
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