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Hebrews 13:8 (NIV84) – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Our Savior never changes. He knew yesterday before it ever happened. He knows today better than you do. He sees tomorrow as clearly as we see this moment now! There is nothing that sneaks up on Him or surprises Hi. So, when we speak of “lessons learned” it is because we have not experienced something, understood it, or knew it ever existed, which is totally different from our Lord. He sees all and knows all.
So, what are some of the lessons learned in 2020?
1. Expect the Unexpected – One word used to describe this year is “unprecedented.” If you’re like me, you are tired of hearing this word. We’ve never had a pandemic like this one that spread as quickly as it did. We’ve never seen the market drop as fast and as far as it did in the Spring. We’ve never seen the market rebound as quickly. We’ve never seen the economy shut down like this. We’ve never seen vaccines rushed through the system as we’ve seen this year. 2020 was nothing less than unprecedented. And yet we are reminded that the more things change, the more they stay the same. God is still in control. He is still King, ruling and reigning over all. He is still good and kind, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast mercies. Crises come and crises go, but God remains the same. We should expect that bad things will continue to happen in this fallen world. This is why we need a plan for how to deal with the unexpected. Maintain a rock-solid faith in God and keep going back to his word as the foundation of your life.
2. Don’t take your freedom for granted – I was watching a TV show this fall and it was refreshing to see an episode not about the Coronavirus. To see people walking around without masks or fear of others. We’ve had an election in which many fear that religious freedoms may not be as strong in the next four years. All the more reason to be grateful for the freedoms that we do have.
3. God is still King of the Universe – In spite of the election, our sovereign Lord still rules all things. I like to joke with my conservative friends that I’m a “Big Government Christian.” After their gasp for breath, I go on to share a verse, “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end” (Isa 9:7a). That is the kind of “big government” that I can get behind. God’s government.
4. Connect with family – Being stuck at home for months on end, seeing the same people day after day, can be exhausting. We can look at this as an obstacle to happiness or we can see it as a means to go deeper in our family relationships and love for one another. I don’t know if we will have more lockdowns in our future, but if we do, Christians should use this opportunity to love and serve others.
MONEY & STEWARDSHIP LESSONS
5. An Emergency fund is still the more important financial safety net – Keeping 3-6 months of living expenses is critically important to weathering economic uncertainty. – Explain 3-6 months.
6. Don’t let short term market movements change long term investment plans – Market dropped more than 30% at one point this spring. While these drops were uncomfortable to watch, they didn’t last forever. The market generally rebounds in proportion to its drop.
7. Getting risk right is more important than chasing returns – At the end of 2019, the market was poised to keep going higher. After already having an amazing year, many people thought that the largest risk was not taking enough risk. When things are going well, risk seems hard to quantify. Those who chase investment returns will likely suffer larger drops in value than they are willing to accept when the market turns on them. Notice that I used the term “when” not “if.”
8. Having a good supply of toilet paper (but not hoarding it) is a good thing prior to a lockdown! – Now, I say this in jest, but making sure that you are not financially stretched that when difficult times come and you need certain resources, and you find out that due to limited supply (like toilet paper) and demand, and a natural increase in cost occurs, that you will be able to take care of yourself and your family
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