Where Will People Be?

Remember this scene? This was the line of smiling, playful people outside a New York store selling iPhone for the first time in June 2007:

Now has any of you seen this? This was the line of unhappy, probably unemployed people outside a Monster.com job fair in New York in November 2008:

(Source: Baltimore Sun)

What a difference a year makes.

Why do I show you these pictures? Well, earlier tonight Dickson led us in a brutal and depressing Bible study. You ask: “How can a Bible study be depressing?” We studied Matthew 6:19, which says:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”

And he proceeded to ask us: “What will happen if you go to work on Monday and find out you have been laid off?” Even worse, “You found that your savings will only last you and your family X months. What will happen if after X months you still can’t find work? How would you continue to survive? How do you care for your spouse and kids?” As we work out these real-life scenarios in detail, it dawned on us that it really could happen, and it’s as grim as it can be, if the US and global economies keep like this.

This hits way too close to home. My company actually had a significant staff reduction a couple of weeks ago, and many of my friends were let go. And I also already had a few friends falling victim to layoffs. And with today’s announcement that Sun Microsystems is laying off 6,000 people, the Bay Area is fast becoming a very depressing place to be. Sadly, we all know this is just the start. There are already reports that crime rates have gone up and more homes are broken into. More and more people are literally begging for money to feed their family. Today’s there’s news of a Santa Clara office shooting by a laid-off employee, and I’m sure this kind of news will keep coming.

As I was going through the Bible study, I was working out a scenario that I could be out of job in 6 months (either because I get laid off or if my company shuts down), and I’m starting to envision myself as one of the people in line in the picture above lining up to look for a job. But then we got to Matthew 6:33:

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…”

Will this economic recession be the time for people to turn from their earthly worries and actually seek God in their lives? Will people line up not just to find work to feed their bodies, but to clamor for God to feed their souls? Will this economic downturn be a spiritual upturn? Where will people be this time?

I tried to find a picture with people overcrowding a church, but sadly I could not find any picture like that except for churches in the third world country. And then I remember the overcrowded churches jnX has visited (including some jnX trips in which I’m participated), and I remember this YouTube video with the new jnX song by Anthony Chan dedicated to the earthquake victims in Sichuan. Anthony and the jnX team went to Sichuan a few months ago (and, BTW, they will be going again next week), and everywhere they went, people who suffered from the earthquake clamored into churches to hear the message of hope. This video should not only be for them, but for us also, as we’re in an economic earthquake, and we need to look beyond our earthly treasures and to seek God and His message of hope: