Anxiety and your health: Money

Anxiety and your health: Money

Sunday, November 03, 2019

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“Wisdom is for a protection, just as money is for a protection…” (Ecclesiastes 7:12).

WORLDWIDE, more than one billion people live on less than a US dollar a day. What is more, countries suffer from hyper-inflation.

Zimbabwe, for example, woke one morning to food commodities 10,000 times their normal price. The oil-rich poor country Venezuela sees people bungling like animals for food in lines so long food items run out before the lines do. Elsewhere, people get ghastly thin from hunger that they fall, like flies, to the ground.

Frightening as the international landscape may seem, the economic belt is tightening its girth on our nation. Locally, unemployment realities continue to box the bread from the mouths of many. Our currency is so sick, no one cares to pick up the fallen dollar. The anomaly worsens as the price of everything — goods and services, land and all, except the price of labour (salaries) — increases steadily.

As far back as 1966, the musical hit, Money makes the world go round, highlighted money as a staple of our reality. Few would, therefore, deny the power of money to affect health and well-being. But, what advice is there when anxiety over money — this indispensable means of exchange — affects you?

Practical wisdom and thinking ability

Amidst such reality, some have sought to employ, as a safeguard, “practical wisdom” in light of Proverbs 3:21. Like a chameleon's adaptation to its changing environment, flexibility and a willingness to take on honest though lowly jobs to care for self and family should never be frowned upon.

One may even consider taking a job at much-less-than-the normal pay and, in the spirit of our local proverbial expression, “stay pon crooked an' cut straight”.

Never underestimate that trusting God is of topmost practical importance. Regarding food, clothing and shelter — life's necessities — Jesus commands at Luke 12: 29-31: “Stop being anxious; for…your Father knows you need these things”.

Sadly, the Evil One has tricked many into the belief that their lives must centre around money and things material. People worry unduly over their needs and wants, be they real or imagined, striving desperately to attain what one can do without. The result is, many go into debt, only to realise the harsh reality that the “borrower is now a slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). Spend wisely, for though money is for protection, the fool and his money shall soon depart. How foolish it is when one fails to live within his means and tries to imitate the Joneses, when, truth be told, we never know what the Joneses do to get by.

Bear in mind, too, that rarely does a job opportunity come looking for you. “Seek and you shall find”. The same text says: “Ask and it shall be given” (Matthew 7:7). Do not be afraid to search for and ask others to be on the lookout for a job opportunity. Be creative and honest, too, as you look for other ways money can be made.

Make a budget, for many act before they think. “Who of you”, asks Jesus “sets out to construct a building without first sitting down and calculating the expenses to see if he has enough money to finish it?” (Luke 14:28). Yes, irrationally and poorly thought-out decisions have cost many — who have left family and a network of friends in search of greener pastures, without proper immigration papers — sleepless nights and mental anguish, only to be playing cat and mouse with the police.

Never be anxious about the next day

Jesus cautions us against “being anxious for the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties” (Matthew 6:33). Remember, in your times of plenty, save money; in your times of little, pinch it. Waste not. Want not. How that lesson was ably taught in Joseph's vision of the seven fat and the seven skinny cows that represented seven years of plenty and seven years of famine! For it was in the prudence of storing up during plenty that survival could be had during times of little.

Since our focus should not be on the next day, ask that God give us our bread for today in the spirit of the Our Father Prayer. His answer may come in unexpected ways.

Recall that God's prophet, Elijah, was fed by birds — ravens at that (1Kings 17: 2-16).

What a time when “there will be an abundance of grain in the earth and on top of the mountain, an overflow” (Psalm 72:16).

In the meantime, in the face of hardening economic realities we are not afraid, though there is much to fear. Again, be willing to take practical steps and a step backward to survive and go forward. Ours is the strength found in the text at Hebrews 13:5, to let our lives be free of the love of money, while we are content with the present things.

For He has said: “I will by no means leave you, nor by any means forsake you...God is my helper; I will not be afraid”.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere (PhD), a minister of religion for the past 22 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

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