Elizabeth, to do her justice, had, in the first ardour of female alarm, set seriously to think what could be done, and had finally proposed these two branches of economy: to cut off some unnecessary charities, and to refrain from new-furnishing the drawing room; to which expedients she afterwards added the happy thought of their taking no present down to Anne. ~Jane Austen~
Let's talk financial crisis. We're all aware that there is one, and a lot of the last political debate focused on it. In a time where the costs of commodities are rising worldwide, and the masses are panicking over the stock market, what are we to do?
I think, as a whole, this time can be a good one for our nation. For far too long we have been using up far more than our share of the world's resources; convinced daily by the media that every want and desire should be instantly satisfied. We live in bigger houses and drive more cars than our ancestors, and consume so much more than our share of food that we have a national obesity problem.
This could be a very good time to re-evaluate the difference between wants and needs. A time to make smarter choices about how to spend money, how to eat, how to save, and how to sell off the excess. (I've been weeding through my possessions to find anything I can eBay to supplement my income, and found a surprising amount of extra)
But there is a danger in this time. As people tighten their belts, one of the first things that people give up is their giving. Food banks are going to be tighter this winter. Homeless shelters less funded. I haven't heard anything from Compassion, but I can imagine that many people are giving up their sponsor children because they can't keep up with the payments. One place that hasn't fallen off is KIVA - which has so many donations being made that it's almost impossible to lend. By the time the page loads, the individual is already fully funded. (One personally relevant sidenote - please continue to support the arts as well. Your actors already starve regularly. We're worried about our live theatre ticket sales)
In a time when the rest of the community is panicking, and battening down the hatches, we who believe that God knows our needs should have a response of continuing generosity. Giving, especially when one doesn't know exactly where the next bit is coming from helps to develop a basic faith that God can provide. It also gives us a chance to loosen our grip on our things and having control of them.
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs...~Rudyard Kipling~
If we use this time to learn to let go of possessions, let go of excess, and find that we can do with less, we'll enjoy simple things and moments more than we'd expected. Use things up, wear them out, melt them down (wait, I think someone already said that)...Give as much as you are able, and even more. Be generous when every nerve is telling you to hoard. Learn to find joy in things that don't cost much. Borrow from the Library instead of buying. Eat staples instead of fast food. Walk as much as you can. (You'll lose a SURPRISING amount of weight this way, too!)
Dance socially. And give even beyond your ability!
One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters." ~J.R.R. Tolkien~