The number one concern of most Americans right now is the economy and jobs. We've had several church members lose their jobs in recent weeks. Many more are concerned about further cuts that could happen in their workplace.
Meanwhile, most of us aren't prepared for a layoff. Americans are saving between -1% and 1% of their income! (This compares with an average savings rate in China of around 25%!) And we are in debt - the average credit card debt in America is over $9,000.
Our federal government reflects 'we the people,' with debt that is growing daily and is in the hundreds of billions of dollars, money that we are borrowing from other countries and will have to repay - someday, somehow.
What's our problem?
Guess what - it's NOT the economy!
While we definitely have financial problems, our money crisis is a symptom of a deeper problem. All of our spending and borrowing and debt points to a flaw in our collective character (and our individual minds and hearts).
In spite of having so much - in fact, having all that we need and more...
...we are not CONTENT.
We are restless, bored, searching for something ... and in the process we shop, we buy, we borrow, we travel and vacation and entertain ourselves - we go deeper into debt, and still feel the same restless dissatisfaction.
What's missing inside each on of us that keeps pushing us to want more?
Part of what's missing is a sense of purpose and identity...
...what's missing is knowing WHO I am and WHY I'm here.
We have an internal need or desire for significance and purpose, and unless we fulfill this, we are restless. Our antidote is to spend, spend, spend and we are in serious debt, which leads to further stress - and often more spending!
This internal desire for purpose is something that God put in us when we were created as human beings. We're not satisfied to just consume and act like animals. We need something more to be fulfilled. We need to give and contribute. We need to know we're making a difference.
This is a spiritual issue - that is, it goes beyond the physical or the biological - or the financial! God created us as spiritual beings, and part of our spiritual fulfillment comes from learning his purposes for us. God is our compass and roadmap. No wonder Jesus said he was the light, and the bread of life. Without him we're directionless and hungry for more...even when we've gorged ourselves on food and pleasure.
This Sunday will be the second in our series called "Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity." I'm going to address this issue - helping us be clear about our purpose and calling. When we discover and accept God's plans and purposes for our lives, we are able to experience the freedom that comes from contentment.
I'll also share some simple financial principles we all need to remember to act wisely in the area of finances; that's why this message is entitled "Wisdom and Finance."
And we're giving every person who attends Sunday a 'sticky card' (that you can stick to your bathroom mirror or a window) that has these important financial principles on it. This tool will be a daily reminder to encourage you to be content and discover God's deeper purpose for your life!
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!