How to Face the Inflation with Faith, not Fear

How to Face the Inflation
with Faith, not Fear

Rising prices can cause us much financial stress. What advice and wisdom can we find in the Bible?

Eliza Tan

How to Face the Inflation with Faith, not Fear

The ongoing news about rising inflation in Singapore is giving me a fair bit of dread and anxiety. Dread, because everything is getting so expensive: even my usual teh-o at the nearby coffee shop is selling for 20 cents more! Anxiety, because I do worry about how I am going to cope with inflation on my limited salary.

Do you feel the same way as I do? I’m sure many people do. Some might even be feeling angry about the geopolitical events that have produced food and oil shortages leading to the situation, or stressed over how to balance their finances.

While it is hard to avoid worrying about inflation, this might also be an appropriate time to examine our relationship with money and reflect on what money means to us.

Are We Owners . . . or Stewards?

Are We Owners
. . . or Stewards?

Through the parable of the bags of gold (Matthew 25:14–30), Jesus shows us how we are to live—in anticipation of the coming of the kingdom of God. At the root of this story is the identity that we have in handling our earthly blessings: as stewards. All of us are servants entrusted with resources that God has given us to use for His kingdom’s sake.

To be fair, this truth can be difficult for many of us to accept.

It may be more natural for us to see ourselves as owners of our possessions and abilities, rather than stewards. After all, in the eyes of the world, these possessions and abilities belong to us, and we have the right and freedom to use or spend them as we wish, without having to explain our decisions to anyone.

A steward, however, is not the owner. He is a caretaker of the possessions who is expected to be faithful and accountable to the owner, his master. A responsible steward will think about how to maximise the potential of the resources under his charge and explain how he has made use of them.

Matthew 25:14–30 reminds us that everyone will be called to account to God for how we have invested our “gold”, and those who are found faithful will be given more. Because of this responsibility we have been given, and the limited time we have on earth, we need to manage our supplies wisely.

In this, God’s Word offers us much biblical counsel:

  1. We are to manage our money diligently and wisely

Ecclesiastes 11:2 and 6 emphasise the importance of making prudent investments in view of life’s uncertainty: “Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land . . . Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

Managing money wisely includes finding the right balance between saving and investing prudently for future needs, giving generously now, and remaining dependent on God. Which leads to the next point . . .

  1. We are to seek advice and exercise discernment

Numerous biblical passages extol the merit of wise counsel, for example, Proverbs 12:15: “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” We can seek wise counsel from believers who are more astute in such matters in how to manage our money.

  1. We are to give

Proverbs 3:9 tells us to “Honour the LORD with your wealth, and with the first fruits of all your crops.” God’s kingdom’s work and the underprivileged need support, and He calls us to contribute when we have the ability (Proverbs 3:27).

In giving, the challenge is for us to do so with the right attitude. In 2 Corinthians 8:5, the apostle Paul praised the church for their generosity in supporting his mission work. But he also reminded them: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (9:7).

Many of these stewardship qualities are seen in the woman of Proverbs 31, which is often held up as a model for us to follow. Not only is she wise, diligent, and resourceful (vv. 13–15, 17–19), but she is also prudent in her investments, takes care of the needs of her family, and is generous to the poor and needy (vv. 16, 20, 21–24, 27). All these stem from her reverent fear of the Lord (v. 30).

Learning to Trust God . . . Again

One of the causes of the current inflation is Covid-19 itself. The faster-than-expected recovery of consumer demand, combined with the lagging production of goods, has contributed to the mismatch in supply and demand of goods, thus causing prices to rise.

But, we can remember the many precious lessons that the pandemic has taught many of us.

When we worried about losing our jobs or finding one, our loving Father comforted us and provided for our needs (Matthew 6:29–33).

When we struggled with the stress of taking care of our families amid Covid-19 restrictions, the Lord gave us strength to keep going (Psalm 28:7).

And when we struggled with loneliness, Jesus showed us that He would never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

I can recall how anxious I felt at times during the pandemic. I worried about whether I would lose my job, or how my employer would be hit by the crisis. But it was during this time that I learnt to commit my anxieties to the Lord.

As a result, I experienced peace when I prayed—like the peace described in Philippians 4:6–7—and I also witnessed how God provided for His people through various avenues. It was encouraging and comforting to see and hear of people giving sacrificially, to show the love of God to their neighbours.

The current inflation, too, is compelling me to ask myself again: What is my relationship with money—do I love, trust and pursue it? Can I continue to trust God to help me meet my needs even though prices are increasing? Will I continue to be faithful and obedient in giving, such as the monthly allowance to my father, tithing to my church, and supporting a missionary?

While this time of inflation may be a challenge to our pockets, our bank accounts, and to our faith, I believe that as we examine and reflect on our goals, values and beliefs, and learn to focus on what really matters, we can experience God’s peace and contentment.

And, in our times of distress and worry, we can always cry out to God, just as the psalmists did. As we trust Him to answer our prayers in His time, we will discover, as the writer of Psalm 121 did, that we can keep looking to Him who watches over us:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth. (vv.1–2)

Eliza Tan is known by many names, but her favourite is ‘My beloved child’. Though she eats to live rather than lives to eat, she still enjoys her food and wholeheartedly agrees with Ecclesiastes 3:13, “That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”

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