We all know that the unemployment rate in our country is quite high – 8.5% as of December 2011. However, what most of us don’t realize is that it is grossly inadequate as it fails to take into consideration the long-term unemployed and the underemployed as millions of Americans are only able to find part-time work or work in which they are overqualified for. Carl Van Horn, MPR’s mid-morning guest this morning suggests, that this high underemployment rate in our nation is proof that we are in an economic crisis.
Although I enjoyed the broadcast, I have to be honest that I found myself a little down as I listened to it. I mean, on a daily base I hear about all of the trouble that our country is in and sometimes it gets a little overwhelming because it seems like minus the miraculous intervention of God that things wont go very well for us. And this is disheartening because I am fairly young, not even 30 yet, and my family is very young. We still have a lot of years to live to be wasting away our lives in a nation that is failing. It makes me want to get a new passport, a visa for the nearest country that will accommodate me and my family, and get my tail out of here! But where would I go? Trouble abounds all over the world. Besides, running is not the solution.
But I believe there are solutions, and even solutions that God has given each and every one of us the power to take. Yes, there is a lot that Congress could do – but they need to get their act together and stop sabotaging our government and our nation’s economy just so that they can win the next election (Talk about selfish). In the meantime, we have to take stock at the tools that God has placed in our own hands, and do something.
I am often encouraged by a particular story found in 2 Kings 4:1-7 (the Message Bible)
One day the wife of a man from the guild of prophets called out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead. You well know what a good man he was, devoted to God. And now the man to whom he was in debt is on his way to collect by taking my two children as slaves.”
Elisha said, “I wonder how I can be of help. Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Nothing,” she said. “Well, I do have a little oil.”
“Here’s what you do,” said Elisha. “Go up and down the street and borrow jugs and bowls from all your neighbors. And not just a few—all you can get. Then come home and lock the door behind you, you and your sons. Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside.”
She did what he said. She locked the door behind her and her sons; as they brought the containers to her, she filled them. When all the jugs and bowls were full, she said to one of her sons, “Another jug, please.”
He said, “That’s it. There are no more jugs.”
Then the oil stopped.
She went and told the story to the man of God. He said, “Go sell the oil and make good on your debts. Live, both you and your sons, on what’s left.”
For me, this story illustrates that even in times of extreme economic desperation, that God has placed something within all of us, to pull us through that situation. But we have to be willing change our thinking so that it begins to work for us. Initially, this widow in 2 Kings did not believe that she had anything to work with. But as she spoke with Elisha she realized that she did have something – oil.
So what about you? What do you have? A four year business degree and a part-time job as a barista? Make it work for you. See to it that you don’t stay a barista but diligently work your way up into a shift supervisor, manager, or even an owner and put those business skills to use. Yes it may take some time, but don’t let that discourage you.
Or maybe even start to develop your own business on the side. Who ever said that you had to use your degree to work for somebody else? Discover what type of business you would most like to have, do the research, develop a product, and whatever else is necessary to reach your goal.
Or maybe you are a graphic designer. A writer. An artist. A photographer. A musician. A CNA. A janitor. A truck driver. An engineer. An IT specialist. A librarian. A pastor. Or whatever else. Do some soul searching and spend a few days, even weeks in prayer with God, to discover how your skills and your passions can work together to create something that you never thought it could. And if you don’t come up with anything, maybe it is time to learn some new skills and unearth some passions that you did not know were there. Take a risk that in normal circumstances you would not take so that God can pull out of you something that you did not know was there! Who knows? You could end up creating the next Apple.
And in the meantime, while you wait, while you rediscover your gifts and passions, or wait for another job opportunity be encouraged by this:
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phillipians 4.19, NASB).