Monday, May 11, 2009

Keep your Powder Dry

Had lunch with a “friend” recently and we were discussing the current financial situation in America. There is a bailout mania going on right now that is more deadly than this N1H1 virus going around. This friend caught it and I must admit it is an attractive virus. He stopped paying his mortgage and stopped trying to find a job; he is waiting on his bailout to come his way. “After all, they are not going to let banks fail, or big companies fail and so they are not going to allow foreclosures so ... why pay my mortgage?” He is now 4 months behind. And he is challenging the banks to foreclose so he can declare bankruptcy and have all the credit cards he’s been living on cancelled and still have his house and big TV but at a lower payment and rate. The government just extended his unemployment benefits for another six months so he has not had to work for more than a year now and is getting paid for it. He collects over $300 in food stamps (actually a non-embarrassing ATM card now and not stamps) per month and that MORE than covers his food, in fact he “sells” some of his food to neighbors so it doesn’t get lowered.

He told me he would like to go back to work someday but, for now, it is more profitable to be a “deadbeat.” AND it’s easier. Bailout mania.

I have almost always worked. I remember when we were first married I had to collect unemployment checks and was so embarrassed I swore I would never do it again. Even during my time laid off at the factory I worked roofing houses or driving semi’s to keep working. So to make unemployment a lifestyle is beyond me. But it is becoming more and more a strategy and not safety net as originally planned.

Another unemployed person I knew told me week after week that she was “trusting in God” to bring her the job she was seeking. Not just A job but THE job; she had turned down other jobs because they were not the one she was hoping for. But she had faith that God would bring her the job of her dreams.

“Trust in God but keep your powder dry.” This statement is attributed to Oliver Cromwell during his battle in Ireland in the 1850’s but it is just as true today. Trust in God: yes! Hope: yes! BUT continue to work, plan, and prepare. You CANNOT simply sit back and hope the wind blows fortune your way. Hope is NOT a strategy. You must lean into the wind and move forward.

These two friends may someday find the job of their dreams. But it is more likely that the job of your dreams comes AFTER you kiss a lot of frogs. Jobs aren’t found, they are made. Make yours, whatever it is, a good one. Don’t hope for a bailout or a rescue.

The floods hit the Midwestern town and a man was forced to the roof of his house. The first boat came by and told him to jump on. “No” he said, “he had faith that God would save him.” The second boat came now that the water was up to the roof. “No thanks.” He said. “He had faith God would save him!” The water was now over his house and he was treading water.” The third boat came by and tried to pull him in. “No” he insisted. “I have faith that God will save me!” He died. He got to heaven and asked God “Why didn’t you save me in the flood?” God looked pretty frustrated as he said “I sent three boats!”

Hope and faith are not strategies. They are they comfort you have while you are working your hardest.

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