VIEW FROM THE PULPIT: Thoughts on Occupy Wall St.

Anyone listening to the news lately has heard about the Occupy Wall Street movement and similar protests around the world.

Anyone listening to the news lately has heard about the Occupy Wall Street movement and similar protests around the world.

There is growing frustration about financial systems, lack of good paying jobs, high cost of living and the gap between rich and the poor. This younger generation is the first generation in centuries that will be less prosperous than its parents.  While we do not have room to tackle the major issues, let us discuss some of the ways we as Christians might respond on an individual level.

First of all, be thankful. I am thankful that we live in this blessed country called Canada.  We enjoy many things, though they may not be perfect; universal health care, a social safety net, opportunities to work or start your own business and freedom to live where we want.

While no one really likes to pay taxes, I believe we have a “moderately fair” tax system.  We do live a lifestyle that a high percentage of the world does not enjoy and while there is a wide spectrum of richness, we do live in a country that generally helps each other out.

We just celebrated Thanksgiving and one of the lessons from that season is to be thankful for our blessings.

Look for ways to help those in need. In the book of Acts, the early Christians “had all things in common.”

While they recognized personal property rights, they took the responsibility to share with anyone who had need. Everyone can find people who are better off financially and people who are worse off than our selves. Our responsibility is to share.  If we sow generosity, we will reap generosity.  I love working with the Local Food Sharing group based in Rock Creek.  It has a motto of “neighbours helping neighbours.”

While helping, we need to remember, “The end does not justify the means.”

I have friends whose son was frustrated at financial inequality and 20 years ago, he decided to do something about it.

He thought, “Rich banks are covered by rich insurance companies.”  He got a gun and tried to rob an armoured truck in downtown Vancouver.  He was shot and killed in the process. He tried to be a modern Robin Hood but two wrongs do not make a right.

Lastly, pray for our leaders and bosses.  Decisions made at work or in government do affect us.  We are in uncertain economic times and they need Godly wisdom and discernment.

I am a part-time pastor and I am also a part-time small businessman with a five-ton truck.   While I recognize that money is a tool, I also realize “the love of money is the root of all evil” 1Tim 6:10.

Profit is not a bad word. In my business, my profit is my wage.  If I do not make a profit, I do not get a wage.  In business, a profit is needed to reinvest back into the company and also to pay dividends back to owners and shareholders.  Our CPP is invested so that the invested company’s dividends help increase our pension fund.   Moderate profit is a sign of a healthy business.

John Wesley once preached about money, “Make all you can (honest gain with hard work), save all you can (live simple, below your means), give all you can (or all you have left).” Good words to live by.

– Rick Steingard is pastor of King of Kings Church in Midway