Financial Omniscience

Below is a great quote by Ben Stein on knowing the future, especially, the future of financial and economic markets.

I am bemused because I have long noticed that almost all economic pundits and soothsayers – whether on television, in newspapers, or at brokerage firms and conferences, are asked to tell the future. And most of them agree to try to do so, and the really successful ones actually say they can do it – and they say it with extreme conviction. Some of them are stunningly well paid for their efforts, even though they are wrong decade after decade. And I would be remiss if I did not add that I have succumbed to this temptation to speak as if I could tell what the future holds.

Yet, we cry out for someone to tell us the future, like children who want to hear the end of the story. (Source: Tell Us the Future. Then Again, Don’t. by Ben Stein, New York Times, March 28, 2009)

Whether or not you agree with the rest of the article, Stein is exactly right.  We don’t know the future and many times we don’t even remember the past so well.  There is a lot of pain right now because of these very rough economic times.  Even knowing it could be much worse doesn’t always lend much comfort.  So what’s the solution?  For Christians the solution is the Gospel.  For non-Christians the solution is the Gospel.  The Christian ultimately knows that his hope is not in today’s or tomorrow’s economic environment, but in Jesus Christ.  We know this however imperfectly we live it.  The non-Christian does not have hope right now as long as they are rejecting Jesus.  All they really have is the now and tomorrow which includes this economic environment.  The solution is to see God’s grace in the Gospel and embrace it through faith.  Even so, how does this give us comfort right now?

Gospel and Tomorrow

How many times in your life have you pondered what you could do and have if you just knew the future?  As a kid, I remember talking about how if I could just go back in time to find out who would win the Super Bowl, World Series or a horse race I could win all kinds of money!  I bet you’ve had similar thoughts and not just as a kid.  I imagine kids today think along these lines of winning the lottery or creating Google.  Take someone like Bernie Madoff who thought he could control the future.  The past caught up to him and it was too late by the time he saw it.

It’s not to late for those of us who are still alive today though.  The lottery has already been won and Christians are waiting for the past to catch up with them.  That is, Jesus has paid the debt for sinners who repent and believe in the distant past for the eternal future.  If we can put so much emphasis on what we would do if we knew the future then why do so many not trust in Jesus who has told the future?  The problem is that it’s the future with Jesus that many don’t think they want.  Instead, they bask in their own insecurities and lack of knowledge where they fret in distress with no hope.  Christians are not their own and belong to Jesus and non-Christians are also not their own.  A non-Christian belongs to and is controlled by whatever has hold of him.  If he consumed with this current economic turmoil then that is what’s owning and controlling him.  Funny though, I don’t know one person who is going to take their home and stock certificates with them in their casket.  This is whether those assets appreciate again or not. Even if you could take this assets with you what good would it do?  So even in the grave those things that can’t give you hope today still can’t give you hope.  Where is hope found?  Only in Jesus since He will not leave us in that casket.

I leave you with some Scriptures so the Christian can be reminded and the non-Christian informed about the hope we have in Jesus.  Just a few passages to think on from the ESV translation.

Matthew 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

For the Kingdom,

Mark

p.s. I hope to very soon post two practical articles on debt and money management for the family.

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The above article was posted on April 8, 2009 by Mark Lamprecht.
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