The fallout from COVID-19 continues throughout the world. The recent spike in cases caused chaos and panic in the global economy. International markets are now in free fall. The bear market has arrived, and all in a matter of days. Will there be a global depression? We will know the answer soon.

One lesson is clear from this recent plunge in markets – money has wings; it can fly swiftly away from us at any moment. Today it may be here. Tomorrow it may be gone.

The diligent Christian will recall this truth being taught in the Scriptures. “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” (Prov. 23:5) Thus, 1 Timothy 6:17 warns us, and  especially the rich, never to trust in “uncertain riches”. Indeed, the love for money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10).

If the Christian should not labour to be rich (Prov. 23:4), what then should he do? 1  Timothy 6:6 has the answer – “But godliness with contentment is great gain”. We are to pursue the things which pleases our heavenly father – “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness”. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33) This is the golden rule of divine economics.

In the months before COVID-19, some in their conceit predicted a bull market and called on others to pour in money to invest. They have forgotten the lessons of the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997-1998 and the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008. Alas, those who gave in to their greed are now faced with a mountain of losses. The question is, how many who profess to be Christians have given in to such covetousness? If you did, these few days would have been a painful lesson for you. A mindless and sinful pursuit of mammon will only pierce you through with many sorrows (1 Tim 6:10).

The recent plunge in markets should also inform us on how we should bring up our children. How easy it is to point our children to follow the direction of the world to study for the sake of getting a “better job” for a “better life”. What is this “better job”? One which pays you well. The assumption here is that money can buy one happiness. Such thinking is naive, for we know that true joy and peace can only come through Jesus Christ. Instead of teaching our children to trust in uncertain riches, we should direct them to trust in the Lord.

You can only serve Christ or mammon, for no man can have two masters. Who will be your master? We pray that it is Christ!


During the Asian Currency Crisis, the Rev Timothy Tow took an address by the then MP David Lim in 1997 and restated it from a Christian perspective. I have further abridged and adapted Rev Tow’s writing in the hope that it will give you spiritual insight in these current times.

Abridged and Adapted by the Editor

How do we restate, in the simplest terms, the two lessons which we have learnt from the financial crisis?

           Dependence on ourselves – self-help.
           Interdependence between us and others – mutual help.

In the light of the Holy Scripture, however, there is a missing third factor – the higher dependence on God – Divine help. For the Christian entrepreneur, he must say self-help and mutual help is not sufficient without Divine help.

Yes, we must create wealth by real work. This is taught by the Apostle Paul, “if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). See also Acts 20:34. Additionally, “we cannot spend more than we earn” is demanded more stringently by our Lord’s requiring the Apostles to “gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost” (Jn. 6:12). More positively stated, “Economy is the mother of prosperity”. Singaporeans have learnt the lesson well.

As for the second lesson, interdependence between us and others, the Bible passage in support is found in Philippians 2:4. “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Now we come to the third factor, the higher dependence upon God (Divine Help). As we are the children of God, whatever we do we must look to Him for help to succeed. Moses plainly puts it to the Israelites on this score:

Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy      fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; 17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” (Deut. 8:11-18)

When a man remembers the Lord that it is “He that giveth (him) the power to get wealth,” then he is careful to worship the Lord with his substance (Prov. 3:9), to return Him the sacred tenth (tithe). God’s reciprocal blessing then is this – “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground;  neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Mal. 3:11) To be preserved against misfortune is good fortune.

Editor’s Note: How can we use our wealth to glorify the Lord. Perhaps use our riches to “refresh the bowels of our brethren” (Phm. 1:7) and glorify the Lord. Pray that the Lord will move our hearts to use our resources wisely for His sake.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew