The economy has a lot of people upset, and for good reason. Major corporations threatened with collapse, jobs continuing to be outsourced (being sent overseas), the massive bailout of the mega-banks, the stock market going down, and now the hint that the U.S. economy is possibly being merged with the European Union.

What in the world is going on? People are worried about their jobs and money. Some retired people I know are returning to work. The nest egg they set aside not only isn't growing, it is losing ground fast. At least some of the institutions we have entrusted with our money, our retirement, are letting us down.

Being entrusted with someone else's hope and prosperity is a major responsibility. It is also scary. I'm not just speaking here of the financial institutions. No, that was just an illustration. I'm speaking now about the great hope that God has entrusted within us.

Many years ago, the apostle Paul reminded Timothy of the sincere faith that lives in him (2 Timothy 1:5). He then told Timothy:

[F]an into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands." (2 Timothy 1:6).

He then encourages Timothy to testify about our Lord, and to suffer for the gospel. He also says:

[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus ... (2 Timothy 1:9).

Paul even further told Timothy:

Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us (2 Timothy 1:14 TNIV).

We deposit money in a financial institution and we expect it to produce more money. We trust the institution itself, the federal government, the federal insurance programs, the Securities Exchange Commission, and the Federal Reserve. We entrust them not only with our money, but with our hope and faith.

Paul says the same thing about God's relationship with us. God entrusts something to us that is far more valuable than the money we sock away for retirement. God entrusts us with faith, with the gospel, and with holiness. And he wants to see some interest earned on the deposit he makes in our lives.

I think that means God wants to see our faith seriously impact our lives. Faith is not a seasonal activity, like football, nor a timed activity, like a test. When the last horn sounds in football it is over for a season; when the buzzer sounds in school we know the test is over. But when the closing prayer is said at church, that doesn't mean faith is over until the next service. It means it is time for faith to start earning interest. Will that faith make a difference in how we treat one another? In how we treat our families? In how we speak? In how we earn our money? In the entertainment we choose? When the football season is over, we put the pads in the closet for 8 months. There is never a time for us to closet our faith.

In addition, I believe that guarding the deposit God has entrusted to us means that we share the gospel. We are fortunate recipients of God's grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. We bear interest with that gospel by sharing it with others and even suffering for it. Our salvation is not something to be selfishly hoarded, but is to be boldly proclaimed. As Paul told Timothy, "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7 NASB).

Finally, God has entrusted us with holiness. Holiness means we exhibit the qualities of God himself. It means we walked as Jesus walked. To be holy is to be like God. Are we earning interest on this deposit? Do our lives exhibit moral purity, honesty, financial responsibility, kindness and a sharing spirit? Are we moved by the needs of others to reach out and help?

Ultimately, God does not want us to fritter away or mismanage what he has entrusted to us, unlike some of the institutions that have frittered away or mismanaged the money we entrusted to them. He wants us to earn interest on it. Today, as you go about your work and life, give some conscious thought of how you can be true to the faith, gospel and holiness God has entrusted with you, with God's power for today.

What in the world is going on?

A Parable of Jesus:

"Again, it [the Kingdom of Heaven] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.'

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

"The man with two bags of gold also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.'

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

"Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'

"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

"'Take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For those who have will be given more, and they will have an abundance. As for those who do not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'" (Matthew 25:14-30 TNIV).