Last week the first time jobless claims in America was 218,000. That is the number of people filing for unemployment benefits. While that is only a small portion of the 325.7 million people in America, that is still an incredibly huge number!
Add to that number my wife and many others with which she used to work. That’s right, she was laid off. She is an amazing worker and has a awesome work ethic. I’ve never seen someone so focused on her job than my wife. But companies don’t base their decisions on loyalty anymore, they base them on dollars only.
Over my career I have been laid off twice, fired twice, and have laid off or fired countless people. Currently as a recruiter and human resources professional, I help people find new opportunities after life throws a curve ball at them.
Getting laid off or fired is truly a negative thing.
But there is good news for Christians during this life situation.
God promises us that He will help us financially. Even when we don’t know where our money will come from, we know God will provide.
Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Jesus told the people in His day, many of whom were unemployed as well, to not worry.
That’s comforting, but, Fred, how does the application of that work? I mean, the bills are beginning to pile up and the creditors are calling me and Jesus is simply telling me not to worry?
Well it starts with prayer.
Now, prayer doesn’t guarantee you will get exactly what you want. Even if you do receive what you desire, it will most likely not be in the timeframe that you expect it. But Christians are called to a life of prayer.
Even when the prayers don’t keep us from losing our job, we are still called to pray. It obviously didn’t work. Why keep praying?
Yep, I don’t have a very good HUMAN reason for that.
The very first time we are told to live by faith happens in the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk was questioning why God didn’t protect His chosen people. It seems God was being unjust. God didn’t give us a crystal clear answer, but what He did say was “the righteous live by faith.”
Habakkuk 2:4 – See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness
We are to trust God no matter what, even when God seems to be acting against us.
Bottom line is that prayer brings about increased activity of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Over time, God DOES respond to the cries of His people and redeems them from the problems by bringing them into His good purpose.
So what else should we do while we wait for God?
Tighten your belt. We have grown very accustomed to luxury. When one is out of work it is time to refocus on the necessity and leave the luxury behind. Spending money makes us feel good. When we buy that $5 latte at Starbucks or the grass-fed, organic meats we feel good about ourselves. We can easily justify these as necessities while in reality they are luxuries.
Over the years our standards of what is normal or a necessity has changed. Not too long ago, a 1300 square foot house was elegant (I say this as I sit in my 2600 square foot home). Do we really need the latest electronic gadgets or designer clothing or the newest car? The list can go on.
We are so used to expecting this in our lives that we can no longer afford our lives.
It makes it difficult to cut back because we believe everything in our life is necessary. It is during this time to differentiate between needs and wants.
If you find that you really cannot pay for something, it is time to contact your lenders. There is all kind of debate in the church as to whether Christians should take out loans, and I am not going to cover that here. But if you cannot pay for what you own it is best to contact the lenders before they start contacting you.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Jesus tells us that if we want God to give us our desires then we need to seek first the kingdom. In this case, we need to be looking for God’s “influence” in our lives (kingdom) as we strive to do what is right (his righteousness). Contacting those you cannot pay is the right thing to do. Not only will the creditors work with you, but God will honor it.
One you have done that, don’t give up!
1 Kings 17:12-14 – “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
In this story, Elijah asks a woman for a meal during a devastating famine. But the woman did what Elijah asked and she didn’t run out of food. God used her giving to bring about His provision. Our giving doesn’t “earn” us anything, but it teaches us to trust God and put that trust at the forefront of our lives.
Now that you know you aren’t giving up, it is time to get out there. Start sending out resumes in faith.
Make your job to find a job. I have said that over and over to people I represent. If you are out of work, you need to spend your “free” time finding a job. Do not just sit back and wait. Don’t run away in fear.
Remember something: God is a creator! Even if there is no job out there that exists at this moment for you GOD CAN CREATE IT!
Mark 9:23 – “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
During this time you need to be willing to work at jobs that pay less than you were paid before and jobs that you may seem overqualified for or even demeaning to you.
Stay in motion.
Over my many years leading teams and lately counseling people on their careers I have found that God moves more quickly in the lives of those who keep moving forward than in those who feel victimized and paralyzed in their circumstance.
If you need to, ask for help.
I hate asking for help. But sometimes it is necessary. Maybe you reach out to a family member or a friend or the government. You might think it seems irresponsible to ask for help, but there come times in all of our lives that we simply need help. Asking for loans from someone close to you might need to happen and, if you are a person of integrity, then you will be greeted with empathy and kindness.
Finally, remember that this is only temporary. If you simply hang in there and keep in motion you will see that this will pass with minimal negative effect. And it might even help refine you into the person God needs you to become.
Hebrews 6:11-12 – We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
Just remember this will all pass. God is going to make sure of it.
In the meantime, if anyone knows of any great, preferably remote, opportunities, send me a message and I will tell my wife. She’s currently looking for a new career choice.