What is telling is how the church, the body of Christ, seems to have been taken in the same way that the nation was taken, and that is they were taken by surprise. I guess many didn't learn the lesson that God gave us in Proverbs, when He said "Go to the ant you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest" (Pr 6:6-8), and "The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer" (Pr 30:25) Sadly, it seems sometimes that our priorities are not what they can be, and it takes "tough times" to awaken us out of our sleep and energizes us to re-prioritize our spending habits.
When God was speaking through Haggai to the people of Israel, He said to them "You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the LORD of Hosts. "Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house" (Haggai 1:9) The fact is, we still have money to spend, and we do spend it but we spend it on ourselves. I was mentioning on Sunday that people (Christians) spend more money on Halloween costumes, Starbucks, and Michael Jackson movies then they give to the Lord.
Of course, this is not every person.
There are many who place God first in their giving, but the overwhelming majority of people do not give to the Lord in an entire year what they gave to In-and Out, IMax, or Nordstrom's, bottom line.
Our church has been blessed by the Lord, and I am thankful for all that He has done through so few people. We have a very large church, yet with the amount of people we have we have less than 1/7 supporting the other 6/7 of the church. If people who never give anything would give to the Lord the cost of even one of the cups of coffee they drank this week, our offering would go up over 30 thousand dollars in a week. Think of that for a moment, and ask yourself what you could do for the kingdom of God if you had that amount.
This can sound like I am asking people to stop drinking coffee, or even asking for their money. Of course, there are many who think that way and are suspicious whenever money is mentioned. These are the same ones who think that Disneyland ought to be free, or the government should give everybody free stuff. The fact is, the church is designed to care for itself, and it does so through the loving giving that comes from God's children. What I am concerned about is that the people of God are not exercising faith, and they do not really believe that God will care for them. Jesus said that His Father cares for the birds of the air, and even said we are much more important than mere animals. If His Father cares for them, will He not care for us? Well, the overwhelming amount of people saying that they love God are denying that He loves them, because they do not believe what Jesus said, period. In reality, many are confessing Christians and practical atheists. They just don't believe God really will care for them.
With this in mind, it is my prayer that we actually begin to do even as He said to do. He said Put me to the test, and the only time I remember Him ever saying "Test Me" is when it came to trusting Him with our finances. We need to learn that He is able to do more, abundantly more, than we can ask or think. God is greater than any recession, but if we don't learn the lesson from the ant (which is budgeting/preparing for the future) then we will be no different than the rest of the world, looking to man to care for our needs and forgetting that our Father said He would.