A Lesson from the Recession
Albert Einstein once said, "Adversity introduces a man to himself." According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the most recent recession began in December of 2007. It was then that the nation became aware that many Americans were living beyond their means and had neglected to save, thus leaving them financially insecure.
The idea of saving or putting away for hard times is not some new financial strategy, but it is as old as the scriptures themselves. In the book of Genesis chapter 41, a young Hebrew boy by the name of Joseph, who had experienced a series of misfortunes, was locked up in the King of Egypt's prison.
Joseph's problems began when he shared his dream with his family-not realizing that another dream would set in motion his release. While Joseph was in prison the King had two dreams, none of which the magicians nor wise men could explain. It was then he was told about a Hebrew in the prison who was able to interpret dreams. Joseph was immediately summoned to the palace. There, he revealed that Egypt would experience seven years of abundance, followed by seven years of famine.
A famine in biblical times is equivalent to our modern day recession. Therefore, how Joseph handled their impending famine can be a lesson on handling an approaching recession.
First, Joseph gave the King a plan. He told the King to take up the fifth part of the harvest in the seven years of abundance and hold it in reserve to be used in the seven years of famine. A popular saying is, "if you fail to plan you plan to fail." What plans do you have for your financial future? You should have clear financial goals indicating where you want to be financially five or ten years down the road.
Second, establish a practical plan for reaching those goals. The key part to Joseph's plan to having economic success during hard times was to save during the prosperous years so they could be sustained in times of famine or recession.
We have become a generation of people who would rather look blessed than be blessed. We are wearing designer clothes, and shoes, and carrying designer purses with no money in them. As our economy begins to show signs of improvement let's make a conscious decision to stop living beyond our means. Let's learn from this recession and do what my grandma said, "Save for a rainy day."
Rev. Phillip Thomas is the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Barnwell.
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