Twentysomethings are not so distraught by today’s financial crisis as you might think. “All we have to lose is a crummy job,” one of them told me. (He actually said "crappy," but I have cleaned his remark up for the internet.) It’s the older generation’s problem.
Might there even be a certain delight….a certain “payback” to the generation or two that inherited a world of pensions, good pay, and job security…..and left for their kids a boatload of McJobs…low-paying jobs with no security, no health benefits, and little advancement. Even pleasant souls likeRagoth, a grad student presumably not destined for a McJob, seem unconcerned. Yes, it's tragic, he allows. Still, he is yet in school and has his job. Fair’s fair, I guess. There were recessions in both 1974 and 1982, yet a much younger me barely noticed.
But if the kids aren’t really sweating it, many folks my age are devastated. They were planning to retire…some could practically taste it….and now with 401Ks decimated they find they must keep right on working. That’s assuming they have work…..the tougher cases are being laid off just as they've reached this sad conclusion. Worse, some already retired find their secure retirement income isn't so secure as they thought. They may have to return to work (at age 80). Nest eggs changed into fried eggs, as one pundit put it.
Spiritual views must come into play here, because to the extent people bought into this system, adopting the hopes and dreams of a predominantly materialistic, consumer driven society….to that extent they’ve been let down and let down pretty hard. Some have been crushed. As the psychological types constantly remind us, it’s not really what happens to us…..it’s how we feel about what’s happened to us…..that determines our emotional well-being. If you've been yearning for the good life in your later years with all your heart and soul...and it's an easy yearning to develop since the world constantly dangles it in front of us, you may have been let down hard.
Grousers and soreheads of every stripe abound on the internet, (sometimes I think there’s no one else) and Jehovah’s Witnesses, too, have their share of detractors……if not more than their share. They’ll rail against the JW organization, their view of the Bible, their recommended way of life, their worldview. It’s brainwashing, it’s deception, it’s missing out on the marvels and joys that the world promises, they holler. Man, who’s hollering now? It’s Jehovah’s Witnesses who are best protected emotionally, and those who looked to this world for security the least.
Look, don’t misunderstand. I’m not thrilled with what’s happened either. I’ve taken significant hits, along with most others my age. Many have been hurt far worse. But I was going to serve Jehovah throughout my days anyway, and now I still am. Jehovah’s Witnesses never imagined this system to be a source of security. The three words of Jesus with the most impact for the future…..”thy kingdom come.”…..this is what we believe, represent, and look forward to. If latter years turn out a little rougher than we until recently thought, well…..it was only a question of timing. None of us envisioned the success of human rule, and all of us look to God’s Kingdom as the ultimate solution to the planet’s chaos. Much of the world has far more than monetary chaos to worry about.
Give orders to those who are rich in the present system of things not to be high-minded, and to rest their hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God, who furnishes us all things richly for our enjoyment; to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be liberal, ready to share, safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life. 1 Tim 6:17-19
It’s not bad counsel, is it? And I don’t mean to imply that no one other than Jehovah’s Witnesses have ever observed it, but it does typify our lifestyle, teachings and organization. It probably is us who take it the most seriously. Cruise the internet and see we are derided for it from various pundits who are keeping score and have discovered that, as a group, Jehovah's Witnesses have less toys and money than many others. But it's largely due to observing the above counsel. Since their inception, Jehovah's Witnesses have deliberately stressed pursuing the simple life that allows time and energy for spiritual things. We hear it constantly: the “real life” is life in the new system, “riches” in this world are most uncertain, “store up treasures in heaven” and so forth. It eventually sinks in.
Give me neither poverty nor riches..... Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is Jehovah? Or lest I be poor, and steal. Prov 30:8-9 ASV
Money's not a bad thing, make no mistake. You don't want poverty, for obvious reasons. But neither do "riches" come without risk. In western lands, where Consumer Reports is the Bible, and the mall is the center of worship, plenty of “full” people have learned to "deny thee, and say, Who is Jehovah?" But riches have not been kind lately to those who trust in them.