Helping each other through unemployment
From 1983 until 2009 Alan Bright, now the St Helen’s City Administrator, worked for City-based software companies, data vendors and financial institutions - in training, sales and marketing communications. He has also been unemployed and suggests how we can help other Christians in such situations.
We can pray that our unemployed Christian brothers and sisters would continue to draw near to their heavenly Father and have confidence in His goodness and love. Pray that they would not stop meeting with other Christians, but would know the support of other wise and loving Christians. We can also pray for them to use their time wisely. “Your job is to get a job” – but it is unlikely that someone is able to spend 40 hours a week in useful job hunting. Perhaps just two or three hours a day devoted to the job search could be good, with other time spent considering and doing good works God has prepared for them (Ephesians 2:10) – and there are all sorts of good works to be done. Do also pray that unemployed brothers and sisters might be guided in where they look for paid work – that they might not waste their time looking in unfruitful areas not suited to their skills or experience. We should also pray that they do not worry and that God would give them each day their daily bread. I have been young and am now well into middle-age and I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor their children begging bread – and that has been my own testimony, having lived on benefits for over a year with four children and a stay-at-home wife.
We should keep in contact with them, perhaps offering to meet for coffee or lunch to see how they are getting on – spiritually, financially and in their job search. This is simply speaking the truth in love to one another (Ephesians 4:15) and spurring on each other to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). This might include offering to send their CV to appropriate people in our organisation. We also might consider how to encourage them to serve in their own local church or in the St Helen’s City ministry – NOT to fill gaps in rotas but to keep them busy in profitable use of their time (see Ephesians 2:10 reference above – and also 5:16). We should not be afraid to gently enquire about finances. Perhaps they left their last job with three months’ salary and a significant tax-free sum; perhaps they left with one month’s notice and nothing more (and I have experienced both). It might be right to give them money (James 2:15, 16), once you are fully aware of their financial situation.