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PASTOR’S CORNER: God’s solution to money problems

The economy is booming, according to the White House. The administration proves its point by the Big Board, which is currently in territory never before seen in corporate America.

But is that really a valid measurement of the health of the national economy? In my view, it seems to measure only the health of the big corporations, which represent but a small part of the total economy.

The big corporations are making tons of money, but what about the little guy? Has he progressed along with the corporate world?

According to recent reports, it seems he has not. You be the judge: reports from those in the know say that hourly income of workers has not kept pace with increasing corporate profits from the recent tax cuts.

Today’s politicians say that most American families, if suddenly faced with a $400 emergency, would be hard pressed to find the money to solve the problem. There’s something very wrong with this picture.

Those of us at the lower end of the scale definitely need some help, and help is available — it always has been. We just haven’t learned to access that help.

It’s time we learned that lesson, which begins with our knowing and accepting that God owns everything and we own nothing. All we have is on loan from him and he expects us to be good stewards of what he has loaned us. Once we internalize this truth, our next lesson is found in Psalm 46:1 where we learn that God promises to always be present to help us in times of trouble.

One more truth, if internalized, sets us up to receive the help we need in times of financial trouble. Jesus teaches us that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35). So then, being blessed is inherent in the act of giving.

But attitude is important to God and is considered in the blessings that result. In case you’re wondering, giving just to receive is the wrong attitude.

The right attitude is given to us in 1Corinthians 9:7, “God loves a cheerful giver,” and in Romans 12:8 where Paul says that those who give should “do it with simplicity.” To give with simplicity means to be generous and liberal in giving, and to give with singleness of mind, or to give with no expectation of personal benefit from giving. This all describes giving God’s way.

I hope the message is clear: giving God’s way guarantees that one will consistently have the finances needed to handle all financial obligations, including those unexpected emergencies. To recap, God’s way includes good stewardship; trusting his promises; giving cheerfully; giving liberally; and expecting no personal benefit from giving.

I’d like to wrap this up with a personal testimony: God’s way works. My wife and I have followed it for years, and we are witnesses — God is true to his promises. And it can work for you as well.

Try it, you’ll like it. Start by developing a habit of saving for contingencies, and only for that purpose. Be faithful in making regular deposits. Don’t deplete it, allow it to grow.

At the beginning I asked myself “when will I have enough?” My answer was that I won’t know, but there was one thing I always knew; if I kept on giving God’s way, according to his will, I will always have enough.

And you will also if you trust God and stay faithful to the process. Don’t let these uncertain economic times deter you; stay focused and keep the faith.

Rev. O.L. Johnson, a retired LAPD lieutenant, is an associate pastor in his home church, Greater New Zion Baptist, 501 W. 80th St. in South Los Angeles.

Pastor’s Corner is a religious column that looks at the relevancy of scripture in life today. The column will appear monthly in The Wave and on its website,