Prophet and loss in these trying times

By: Tom Rupp
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I have a particular bias against television news. Do the math – a larger portion of the stories they feature are negative. Much of what is put in front of the viewer is fear. The more you feed that into your spirit, the more you will absorb it until your life is dominated by fear, much of it unwarranted. Of course, that’s just my opinion. Having said that, here’s the evident truth – we are living in difficult economic times. Speaking as a newly unemployed man, I know whereof I speak. The minister asked his friend, “How are you doing?” The friend replied, “Pretty well, under the circumstances.” Then minister then replied, “What are you doing down there?” Thankfully my self-worth is not wrapped up in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Thankfully my identity is not dependent on a job – my lifestyle, maybe, but not my life. If the focus and foundation of my life is money and possessions, then these past few weeks will have shaken my world. That is not the case. Therefore, even though the times are tough, it is not the end of the world. Much of the Bible is a testimony against trusting in wealth instead of the Lord. Many of its verses address the inequities that an unjust economy breeds. Read this somewhat lengthy part of the Bible, the epistle of James to Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor written 1,900 years ago, “Now listen, you rich people. Weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you. You have horded wealth in the last days. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter” (5:1-5). These words resonate with our time today. I have some friends who are blessed with abundant wealth. They walk the fine line between having a lot of money and still having a soul. Unfortunately, not everyone can walk that line. Those who soullessly amass piles of stuff wreak painful damage. John Wesley said, “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” That sounds like wise, good and spiritual advice. Tom Rupp, who lives in constant fear of telvison news, lives in Folsom and can be reached at