Does the stock market have the power to make you anxious or fearful? I’d like to say that its ups and downs don’t affect me…that I have a faith in God that is stronger than my fear of not having enough…but the reality is that when I get caught up in too much of the news and spend too little time in God’s Word, I’m just as susceptible to my feelings as anyone else. That’s why God recently reminded me of one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, Psalm 23. Now most of us have heard this scripture preached at funerals, but it happens to be my favorite passage in the Bible related to finances. Please take a moment to read:
I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
What sticks out to me in particular is verse five, “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.” Imagine sitting in the tranquil scene described in the first few verses. You and Jesus are having a picnic in a quiet pasture next to a trickling stream. You’ve finished your yoga class and restorative massage, and it’s onto a peaceful lunch. Life is good. But you notice a bus in the distance moving in your direction. The bus is filled with your enemies. Maybe a bus full of terrorists, or the wrong political party, or even Packers fans. Whoever your worst enemy is, imagine them pouring off of the bus and surrounding you, preparing to attack. Your heart rate just went from 50 beats per minute to 150…you’re in fight or flight mode. Vacation is over. This just got real!
Meanwhile, Jesus is whistling a tune while preparing your fish sandwich (pun intended). He isn’t oblivious of the impending danger, nor does he seem anxious or fearful. He continues to prepare your lunch, despite what looks to you like an unavoidable catastrophe. You desperately search for a weapon to defend yourself with, or at least a rams horn to call any nearby Vikings to your aid. You need to do something! Or do you? I mean, Jesus just got done promising you that His rod and His staff are protecting you and leading you down the right paths. And He’s about to anoint your head with oil and fill your cup to overflowing. After that, he’s going to do what is good and right in your life, and when it’s all over, bring you to His house forever. So do you need to be anxious or fearful when your enemies surround you? When things seem to be falling apart around you? When your 401k tumbles or your health fails or your relationships are broken or your God seems distant? No! Because in the midst of all that life can throw at us, Jesus is bigger. So much bigger that our chaos, our problems, our worries and fears, they don’t even cause Him to pause to look up from what He’s preparing for you. He’s got this. He is your provision. Call upon His name and He will answer you. Ask Him what to do with your assets, your time and your talents, and trust that He will always provide exactly what you need. And in the meantime, turn off the brain-drain box, block the daily feeds, and spend some time resting in Psalm 23.