Recession and Repentance

Making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland

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Recession and Repentance

At the moment the world is in the grip of a terrible recession. We talk constantly about the credit crunch and the recession, which is the worst this country or the world has known for hundreds of years.

There is talk of poverty and mass unemployment returning to our country on a scale unprecedented since the early nineteen hundreds. We are hearing and reading of portents of bankruptcy on a massive scale and of the country having to rely on foreign lending. 

There are discussions, newspapers articles and ‘experts’ pointing the finger of blame.  The bankers are the first to be blamed followed swiftly by the politicians. We talk about how we are now living in a ‘culture of greed’.  I believe, however, that the problem goes a lot deeper than this. I believe that at the core of it all is the fact that we have become a godless nation and, as a godless nation, we are motivated by greed.

In order to satisfy our greed, bankers have to make more and more profit year on year to make shareholders happy. If the shareholders are not receiving sufficient profit and greater dividends from the banks each year, they will sell their shares and move their money elsewhere.  This constant pressure to exceed and surpass previous profits puts more and more pressure on the banks, resulting in collapse. The banks (and other investment houses) are constantly operating in the grip of fear and failure. They grasp at anything which looks as though it will generate more money and greater profit – taking no account of the risk and potential disaster.  The same can be said of many companies; the profits must always be greater, year in and year out – they are never satisfied.

It does not take a great deal of intelligence and common sense to realise that profits cannot go on increasing year on year forever.

Across the country, our attitude, appetite and desires are for bigger and better things. We want more money, bigger houses, more impressive cars and several foreign holidays each year.  If we cannot afford it, then we will borrow to pay for it. We are constantly stretching ourselves to the limit financially and in the event of a downturn in the economy and a potential loss of employment, we have nothing – no savings – only debts!

We are living in a greed culture. Jesus talks about a greed culture.  He talks about a farmer who ran a large farm.  The crops came in and he harvested and placed his crops in a barn. The year after the crop yield was even greater and so he built another barn. The year after that, another barn was built and so on. The farmer was told that the way he was living, seeking after material things, was foolishness and folly.  

Jesus ended by saying,

‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”  (Luke 12: 20-21)

As a nation, we have been living our lives as if there is no tomorrow. As a nation we have come to seek joy in our wealth and that the treasures we seek are in banks.  Individuals who seek the treasures of heaven, who seek God’s way of right living are generally and routinely mocked and ridiculed on the television and in newspapers.

Our country is in a difficult and desperate situation. What is the solution?  Perhaps if the Government were to pour millions of pounds into the system, then the problem would be resolved? The banks would recover; confidence would be restored, full employment return – a successful resolution!  

Unfortunately, it is not that simple; greed creates a need for more and more.  The Government’s plans might be successful for a while and after a few years we will come out of this recession. Regrettably, this is unlikely to be the end of it.  Even allowing for good intentions, the same situation will happen all over again. Banks and financial houses will start to satisfy shareholders by increasing profits and paying out greater dividends. In order to ensure continuity and greater profits and to maintain the confidence of shareholders, they will start to take more risks and then even greater risks. It will become an ever perpetuating cycle.

We need to put a stop to this culture of greed.  Unless this government, this country, this world returns to doing things in a Godly way, it is not going to be ‘boom and bust’, but rather ‘bust’ and ‘bust’ and ‘bust’.

Last night I led a Bible study and the subject of the Bible study was repentance. This word is not often used, even in churches.  Repentance basically means being sorry, but not just ‘sorry’ – it means turning away and not repeating the thing we have been doing, but instead, doing things God’s way.

At this current time, in this nation and in the world, it seems unlikely that this turning to God will happen. This is why the world is without hope. Historically, our laws and our Parliament were founded upon Christian values. Our politicians and those in authority had in mind Godly principles in the decisions they made for the good of the country and the people. This no longer happens. The culture of greed and ‘I want/I need’ is prevalent across all areas of society.

It is the responsibility of churches and Christians to pray that politicians will once again talk about God in Parliament – and discuss the best way – the Godly way – to run this country. Not just here in this country, but across the world.

When Governments once again encourage people in faith, encourage people to go back to church, encourage families once again to live together – man, wife and children in the family unit that God intended, then we will have a hope. Unless this happens, we will carry on in the same situation, becoming more desperate, with the world moving from one disaster to the next.