THE EFFECT OF RECESSION ON PIETY, WORSHIP AND SERVICE
by Talemoh Dah.
Recession, because of its characteristic effects on employment, earnings, etc, undoubtedly affects every area of human endeavor.
All the pillars of society are affected but the area of religion and faith are affected more. This is so because the choices, adjustments, other reactions, and the outlook on life of humans depend on their faith and, vice versa, affect their faith in the manner that weights tilt scales depending on the Fulcrum.
For people of faith, the pertinent adjustment is turning attention to the Fulcrum and tightening the scale there, so that hardly will any weight tilt them. For others, attention is on the weights (challenges) and you know how acute the tilt of the scales will be. In-between are people of not so strong faith, the majority of us, who must be confused at this stage and whose attention must be encouraged to turn to the Fulcrum.
People of strong faith are few, and the effects of recession on them are much less. Before recession, they idolized nothing but focused on Christ, the Fulcrum. Money, Mammon, has been their tool but not their master. Mammon did not affect their decisions and did not cause them to harm, cheat and become vile to get it. And now, in recession, Mammon will remain in its place.
They apply cosmetics to keep the body healthy, not to change colour or prove ostentation. Their colour will remain the same. They use cars to get them to different points and not to show off. They will still not show off. Same with their clothing, food, houses, the class they fly in, hotels they use, etc. They, in plenty, have rejected bribery, and are likely to remain so. They have been praying for the government and will keep praying. So their adjustments in recession will be small.
Not so with people of not very strong faith. For them, forced adjustments may change their skin colour and weight. Choices will be easy to make because they are likely to follow the lines of least resistance and pain. Their loose affinity to the Fulcrum will allow see-saw oscillations of their morality scale and their actions will be supposedly authenticated by rationalisations.
Because the time of plenty had pitched them high on the morality scale, the momentum of their downward spiral will be such that their choices, adjustments and other reactions will be akin to those of people of no faith or of faith with morality different from ours.
Thus the effect of recession on their piety will be that of erosion. Lack of piety is iniquity and because they will abound in this their love (for God) will wax cold (Matthew 24:12). Second by second spiritual worship thus lost by not making the body a living sacrifice; individual and corporate worship of God will be like sounding loud gongs in the ears of a migraine sufferer.
So in recession, worship by the people not very strong in faith will be a meaningless physical exercise of the vocal chords and the whole corpus of the human being.
For this same group, self and pleasure for self will be loved more, there will be pretensions of devotion to God and ingratitude (2Tim 3:1-5). Time cannot be sacrificed for God and others. Everyone knows it is recession, and so, financial and other resources cannot be channeled to do God’s work or to help brethren or the less privileged. Service will therefore be completely halted.
Let’s get back to the people of strong faith. Their piety will be more simonized because, more than ever before, they are mindful of the possible untoward effects of recession on them. They will invoke ‘let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall’ (1 Corinthians 10:12). Their gratitude to God will increase because, they will say, in spite of all the difficult times God kept us alive, provides for us and protects us.
And because of their heightened awareness of the difficult times they are likely to be more compassionate to others. They may also feel this period may fit snugly with Biblical prophecy and eagerly volunteer to be recruited in the end time army of God, working to ensure that the earth is full of God’s knowledge and glory (Habakuk 2:14, Isaiah 11:9) and to effect the harvest and to send home the sheaves.
Because the days are evil, they will work to redeem the time (Colossians 4:5). So service to God will increase among those with strong faith during recession. And, again, because they know they can only live by faith in God, their devotion and worship life will improve.
On the surface, service may seem to be affected by dwindling resources but our Recruiter will always provide for what needs to be done. Modes of service may change, like the certain change of corporate worship from citadel-styled church meetings to neighbourhood –styled house church meetings that will characterize the end times.
Men will understand the very will of God and do it without the current media hype that is not only costly but tends to make God or the Holy Spirit a commodity you can add value to by attaching images of popular well-dressed pastor couples and get only in designated, preplanned expensive venues.
Personal worship will be in the Spirit and will be dictated by a non-hypocritical piety. Such true piety will be the absorbent wick that the oil of the Holy Ghost will cause to burn and shine as light to the world. It cannot be mistaken or hidden and like a lantern in the storm, no gale of excuses of human frailty can quench it.
One can therefore surmise that if piety, worship and service will be more qualitative in a recession for the strong in faith, all believers should seek to be strong in faith, a state that needs only your will to be closer to the Author of our Faith who only can bring and sustain us at that level. And since recession is temporary, both in itself and in the world itself, let us draw close to Jesus Christ who is the Finisher of our faith, the Way that will lead us to eternal sojourn with God.
With that in mind, our piety, worship and service can only increase in this time of recession. So let us strive to be of strong faith.
Talemoh Wycliffe Dah, a consultant gynaecologist, is based in Abuja.
(Reactions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org).