Watching the stock market these days can drive you crazy. I suppose that’s always true, but especially now when the market is so depressed and volatile. And if you have any investments, and you’re counting on those investments for support in your golden years, it can be really unsettling.
Predicting the future of the market is difficult, even for professionals. And for those of us who are not professionals, the events that affect the market are absolutely inscrutable. A business in China files for bankruptcy and the market goes up. The president falls off his bike and the market goes down. The Steelers win the Super Bowl and . . . Oh wait, that hasn’t happened for a while. But you get my drift.
Now I’m certainly not about to argue against saving and investing, even in the stock market. A wise person spends carefully, avoids unmanageable debts, saves prudently, and plans wisely for the future. And the stock market is a tried-and-true strategy for financial planning. But my point here is that we should try to avoid getting overly anxious or even depressed about material possessions. Jesus taught that too.
Remember the parable Jesus told of the rich man who accumulated many possessions, built bigger barns and said to himself, “You have many good things stored up for many years, so rest, eat, drink and be merry?” But then God said to him, “You fool, this very night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?” (Lk 12:16-21)
Our concern about material wealth shouldn’t become an addiction for us, an obsession; it shouldn’t be a cause of anxiety. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow.” (Mt 6:33-34)
The best and most secure way for us to prepare for the future is to invest in Jesus. Nothing in our life should ever overshadow our relationship with Jesus. We need to spend time with him, develop our friendship with him, learn his ways and follow him. We do that by our personal prayer, our participation in the Church, our faithful reception of the sacraments, and our acts of charity, kindness and generosity.
Absolutely we should use the things of earth wisely, but most of all, invest in Jesus. The dividends he pays are out of this world!
Something to think about: Do you sometimes worry too much about material things?