Stock Market Dip

September 8, 1999
by Michael Ames

Psalm 22:19-20 – But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life from the sword. (NIV)

I work in a modern office cubicle: four dull walls. But the cubicle has no roof, and I can hear the conversations of everyone around. This can be both interesting and distracting but sometimes it is riveting…

Voice 1: "How high is New Tower?"
Voice 2: "49. Bought 300 last night."
Voice 3: "It's going up fast, and I hear they're going to split it."
Voice 1: "Whoa! Maybe I should sell half my Regal and buy some."
Voice 2: "You should. Last six weeks I made 60K."
Voice 3: "Lucky dog! If I'd got in sooner I'd have made double that."

I realized they were talking about tens of thousands of dollars, their own money, which they seemed to be "playing" with, and a feeling of envy rose within me. The envy was hot and sharp and biting and it rose from my feet up to my head as if I were being dipped in searing, hot oil. The envy possessed me, and I became frightened at its strength. In fact, I was so filled with horror, that, in desperation, I cried out to the Lord for help.

And instantly the fear left me. In seconds, the envy faded. I thanked the Lord, with tears in my eyes, for that rescue. But, on reflection, I thanked him again for the exposure. I really had no idea what force could drive someone to cutthroat ambition, endlessly grasping for more, better, newer, faster things. Now I knew of one possible motivation, but, as I listened to the voices swap tips and make trades, I didn't feel any envy. Instead, I felt a bit sorry for them. The concern in their voices was palpable, their worry about when to buy, how much to sell. In many ways they were just like me, trying to provide for themselves and their families. But their investments made them more exposed to greed, to avarice and to the danger of envy. Even though they have more money than I will ever own, I would not exchange places with them.

Prayer: Lord, you treat your children with such tenderness and concern that it is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of your love. When our trials appear, may we always remember your central place in our lives, and call on your name. Amen.

About the author:

Michael Ames
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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