February 20, 2009

The Joyful Catholic / Rick Hermann

Do not worry about money in uncertain times

Rick HermannIf you are concerned about your financial security in these uncertain times, listen to the wisdom of a 100-year-old man who lived through the Great Depression: “Don’t worry about anything, you’ll be all right.”

Coming from a man who learned how to stretch a dime, his words sure are comforting. How much more comforting to receive the same message from the God of all creation: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear” (Mt 6:24).

You may say, “That’s fine, but these are only words. How can a Bible verse pay my bills?”

I know a man who was down on his luck and his car died. He couldn’t afford to buy another, and he needed a car to get to work or he would lose his job. That night, he got a phone call from an old friend who said, “I just bought a new car and I was wondering if you’d like to have my old one. It’s nothing to look at, but it runs.”

God knows what we need. Does he not provide for the sparrows in the air and the lilies of the field (Mt 6:26, 28-30)?

Of course, we must do our part in prayer and deed: “Go to the ant, study her ways and learn wisdom” (Prv 6:6).

We must listen more carefully for God’s quiet voice and let our hardships draw us nearer to him and each other. Then we will hear surprising words that will teach and enrich us beyond measure: “ ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jer 29:11).

We can help by cooperating with God, by working alongside others and praising his holy name.

When the ancient Israelites wandered in the desert, God provided them with manna from heaven, but only enough to survive for each day. Like them, we may suffer and lose weight, but God cannot fill us until we are empty. Thus, we learn to face our future with faith, hope and gratitude.

A single mother living on a farm with four children found herself bankrupt and facing foreclosure. But a businessman appeared at her door and said, “I want to buy the mineral rights on your property for $20,000. If we find oil, we’ll pay you a percentage of the profits.” She agreed and, sure enough, they found a gusher.

Is this really so far-fetched, so hard to believe? Don’t we hear daily about someone finding a new job, inheriting a fortune, inventing something new or writing a best-seller? Isn’t it commonplace to read about someone winning a scholarship, getting a pay raise, receiving a research grant or landing an acting job?

We’ve got to start seeing our God as he really is: a great big God who created the universe and holds us in his hands. We’ve also got to see ourselves more clearly as he sees us. We are his beloved sons and daughters, and he wants to give us the kingdom of heaven.

Suppose your father is Bill Gates, the richest man in the world. Imagine him saying, “Don’t worry about your financial situation.”

We hear the same thing from our father, The Great Provider: “I will surely make you prosper” (Gn 32:12). Now do you see? Do you believe? It is not magic or luck. It is the mighty hand of God outstretched to you in love. Take hold of his hand and accept your inheritance.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mt 6:33).

(Rick Hermann of St. Louis is a Catholic author and career coach. His e-mail address is RH222@sbcglobal.net.)

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