Culture At Large

What should Christians make of 'market mayhem?'

Karen Layland

What is “market mayhem” all about anyway?

It’s interesting to note that headlines from various quarters regarding the current chaos in the stock market continue to use the phrase “market mayhem.” The questions that most often arise in this discussion are: what is the cause and what should I do?

When recently asked about the cause of the current market crisis during a television interview, a Morningstar representative answered simply, “greed and fear.” Our human nature generates a greed for what we’ve gained and a fear for what we may lose. These factors might be the overriding ones in our cultural preoccupation with what’s happening with our investments in this roller-coaster environment.

So what’s an investor to do? Our reaction to this mayhem is a choice we make. We can choose to be upset, disoriented and totally depressed. Or as Christians, we can choose to trust the God who has given us everything that we have, including our investments. Of course, we may show concern. But the promise that God has given us far outweighs our current monetary system. The market is not in control of our destiny.

As my pastor James Tony so aptly shared recently, “God’s promise to us takes the powers of this world and makes them look puny before the one power that gives us triumph.”

So what’s an investor to do? Maybe we should focus a little more on the biblical financial principle of contentment as stated in I Timothy 6:6-7: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” Contentment involves learning to love the will of God, regardless of the circumstances. Could “market mayhem” be one of these circumstances?

So what’s an investor to do? Maybe we need to acknowledge that money is loaned to us and not owned. As Irwin Lutzer reminded his congregation at Moody Church, “Our wealth is God’s and is not ours to keep.” And as Lutzer suggests, “If you’re interested in safety and a high rate of return, invest in spreading the gospel, in things eternal.” His recommendation is that in a market downturn, invest in Christian causes.

So what’s an investor to do? Every investment advisor recommends that we stay the course, that we don’t make drastic changes, that we weather the storm. Sounds kind of similar to our standard of success as Christians. God’s standard is faithfulness. And where do we get the strength we need to meet that standard - through the revelation of Jesus Christ. The One who is with us is greater than the one who is in the world.

(Image courtesy of iStockphoto.)

Topics: Culture At Large, Business & Economics, Money, Economics, Theology & The Church, Faith, News & Politics, Social Trends, North America