Posts tagged ‘Stock Market’

Coronavirus Concern Sweeps the Nation

Arlington National Cemetery is one of the many public spaces that has been closed in the wake of the spread of COVID-19.
Credit: National Guard

As I write about COVID-19 for the third time now on this blog, I must admit that I never expected to devote this much attention and concern to a virus that first emerged halfway across the world. But the state and spread of this virus is shifting so quickly, it’s nearly impossible not to be riveted by what is unfolding. So much has happened this week.

The World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

The NBA, the NHL, and MLB have all suspended their seasons.

The NCAA has cancelled March Madness.

Public spaces across the nation – including places like Disneyland – are closing.

The financial markets are suffering from whiplash.

Air travel to and from Europe has been suspended.

And we’re still having trouble slowing the virus’s spread.

Many of these actions above are the result of an abundance of caution, which is good. But along with much caution, there is also much fear. After all, there’s still so much we do not know about this virus. Its mortality rate continues to be elusive to us. The actual number of infections remains unclear. Testing for the virus remains limited. And, of course, treatment options are nearly non-existent.

Fear like this at a situation like this can lead to all sorts of panicked responses. Stories of stores selling out of staples like bottled water and toilet paper abound. But panic does not equal prevention. The continued calls to wash your hands, wipe down surfaces, and practice social distancing are the things that are necessary to stymie the spread of this virus.

In 1519, the city of Zurich, Switzerland was overrun by the Black Death. It claimed the lives of a third of the city’s population. There was a famous reformer of the Church who lived in Zurich at this time, Ulrich Zwingli. As he cared for those who were ill, he himself contracted the disease. In what seems like a near miracle, he did not die. But while he was in the throes of his sickness, he composed a poem:

My pains increase;
Haste to console;
For fear and woe
Seize body and soul.

Death is at hand.
My senses fail.
My tongue is dumb;
Now, Christ, prevail. 

Lo! Satan strains
To snatch his prey;
I feel his grasp;
Must I give way?

He harms me not,
I fear no loss,
For here I lie
Beneath Thy cross.

Whether in sickness or in health, whether in times of prosperity or pandemic, we lie beneath the cross. And because of this, even as we are cautious, we are not afraid. If a cross could not overcome Christ, a pandemic cannot conquer His promises to us.

March 16, 2020 at 5:15 am 1 comment

Wall Street’s Wild Week

Are we in a bull or a bear market?  It’s hard to tell.

Last week was a roller coaster ride for Wall Street, to put it mildly.  The Dow Jones opened the week down over 1,100 points on Monday for the single largest one-day drop by raw points, though certainly not by overall percentage.  This freefall followed another precipitous drop the previous Friday of over 650 points.  On Tuesday, the Dow rebounded by 568 points.  But this was followed by another mammoth drop of over 1,000 points on Thursday.

Though the financial ride over these past several days has been bumpy, most economists believe the fundamentals of our economy remain strong.  This has not stopped investors from being jittery, however.  These kinds of swings are simply too disorienting not to have an effect on investor confidence.

After a financially tense week like this one, it is worth it for those of us who are Christians to remind ourselves of what a proper perspective on money looks like.

On the one hand, we are called, as Christians, to be stewards of money.  This means we can earn money, save money, invest money, and, of course, share money!  As people who steward money, financial news should be of interest to us.  Having at least a passing awareness of what is happening in the stock market, the commodities market, the derivatives market, the futures market, and the many other types of financial markets can help us steward whatever resources God has given us as best as we possibly can.

On the other hand, we are also called, as Christians, not to put our hope in money.   For when we put our hope in money, we don’t just manage it wisely; we look to it for our security, our identity, and our future.  When we put our hope in money, all it takes is a slide in the stock market for our hope to be shattered and our joy to be sapped.  When we put our hope in money, we are putting our hope in something that is volatile instead of in Someone who is solid.

To steward money means we think about the future of our money.  To hope in money means we think about our money as the future.  But as this latest stock market roller coaster ride has reminded us, hope that is placed in money is no real hope at all.  Money can be earned and lost.  Investments can rise and fall.  Financial futures can soar and sag.  Hope that is placed in money will always be a hope that eventually falters.  This is why hope does not belong in money.  Hope belongs in Jesus.  After all, the return on His investment is far better than the return on our investments of a few dividends.  The return on His investment of blood is our salvation.

Try finding that payout anywhere else.

You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
(1 Peter 1:18-19)

February 12, 2018 at 5:15 am Leave a comment


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