A Leader's Response To Recession
How should a Christian business leader respond to a recession or financial crisis?
Everywhere I turn these days, people are asking, “Are we in a recession?” The answer may not matter as much as you might think.
I recently read an article that said we are in a recession. The same day, I read one that said we’re not. So are we or aren’t we? As I brought this question before the Lord, He impressed a question back to me: Does it matter? I felt God asked me a better question: Am I doing what I need to do every day to follow Him, regardless of what the news says?
Whether we’re living in a good economy or not, our first responsibility is to seek God and be good stewards of what He’s placed in our hands. There are a few things we need to do continually in all seasons to be the best Christ-followers, employers, and employees we can be.
Steward your job and opportunities.
Go above and beyond. Do your best. Come up with ideas and solutions. Be a shining star that is known for being productive and team-focused instead of wasting time in the break room, on your phone, or on your computer.
When employers are looking to hire or when leaders need to make lay-off decisions, your reputation as a hard worker who adds value to the team is critical. As Christ-followers, we should work and steward our time and talents well. We do all our work as unto God. In a good or bad market, we represent Christ all the time.
Don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.
Colossians 3:22-25 MSG
Give, save, and budget.
Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Matthew 6:19-21 NLT
It’s important to store our treasures in heaven first, where we are sure to get a return. Eternal investment is always the best and most reliable. My wife Tracy and I are sure to prioritize our tithe to the local church and giving to the Kingdom first.
If you aren’t already saving, start small but do start. Don’t spend everything you’re making. Even if you can only start by saving 1% of your take-home pay, it can help. Look at your income, designate saving and giving, and then budget the rest. What you can give and save may look different from others’ budgets and may change during different seasons. Be realistic and pray through your choices.
My son Austin explained how his habits had to change and become his own when he started managing his own budget. I have a habit of stopping by the gas station on the way to work to get an energy drink and a snack. This routine typically costs $6-$10 a person. Austin told me how different it was for him when I paid for his $6 QT snacks but how quickly that would add up on his budget. There are seasons when a daily treat is okay and others when it’s not. Be cautious and wise to budget according to your income. Remember, your long-term goal is financial stability and honoring God, not overspending on short-term, spontaneous decisions.
Note: I have a lot of respect for Dave Ramsey and his teaching on finances. I recently came across this article you may find helpful as you work on your personal finances.
Know your real purpose.
God is the only source of true fulfillment and purpose in our lives. When you seek His Kingdom, He will supply all you need.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6:33 NLT
Jesus was talking about money when He shared this truth. During a recession, it’s even easier to focus on the worry and stress of financial lack or decisions. It can consume us if we’re not diligent in keeping our eyes on God. Keeping the right perspective is key. Each person’s perspective is their reality. If I see the market as bad or an opportunity, each is right because that’s my experience. God helps to shape our perspectives to align with His. He’s the only One who knows what’s right, and His perspective is always right.
Looking back over my life, I recognize that the most significant times of growth have come from trials and tribulations. My perspective coming out of hard times is always different from when I started. A recession can be incredibly faith-building if we let it.
The pressure and pain of a recession are real. I’m not downplaying it or pretending there aren’t struggles. But God is inviting us to walk with Him and trust Him, regardless of our circumstances.
A few questions to help align your perspective with God’s:
Am I seeking God first?
Do I want His righteousness?
Do I want His Kingdom to come or my Kingdom to come?