From Joel C. Rosenberg:
From January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008, Americans lost $6.9 trillion in wealth in the stock markets.
Just since Barack Obama was elected, Americans have lost some $3 trillion in wealth, reports Investors’ Business Daily, as the markets have plummeted some 30%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, for example, has collapsed from 9,625.28 on November 4, 2008 to 6,647.49 on March 4, 2009.
Firesale prices are in effect — Citibank stocks are under $1 and General Motors shares are selling for less than $2 — as investors see major American financial and manufacturing behemoths on the brink of bankruptcy.
Zoom out a bit, and we see the situation even more dire. Since the market’s highs in October 2007, the DJIA is down some 50%. That means over the last 18 months, we have seen half the nation’s wealth vanish into thin air.
In the midst of all this, millions of Americans have lost their jobs (latest headline: Jobless rate jumps to 8.1 percent in Feb., highest since late 1983; employers cut 651,000 jobs) . Small businesses are dying. Big businesses are dying. Credit is tight. Confidence is low. And people are anxious.
Last weekend, I met with some evangelical Christian business leaders in Naples, Florida. They asked me what I thought the future held. I did not offer advice on how to win on Wall Street. But I did share with them a few thoughts from the Scriptures.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus said: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there is your heart also.”
I asked the men, “More tough times may be ahead. If some of you have lost 30% to 50% of your assets, what are your plans going forward? What if another 30% to 50% of your wealth vanishes, or is confiscated in a massive new tax increase? Would it not be better to invest some or all of that wealth in the kingdom of God now, where it is safe and secure, while you still have it?”
The Lord is shaking our country and purifying His Church. He is requiring all of us to reconsider what we value, where our treasure is, where our hearts are. He is preparing us to see Him face to face. And when we see Him, there will be a day of accounting. He will ask us what we did with the resources He entrusted to us. What, then, shall we say?