What to say to someone who just lost their job

30 Apr, 2020

A close friend of mine just lost his job… I didn’t know what to say.

Long after the medical danger is gone, the financial implications of COVID-19 will be felt, and indeed they have already begun. It might not be long before someone you know loses their job. Will you know what to say?

Jesus promises God will take care of us, providing our food and clothing just as He does the sparrows and lilies (Matthew 6) and so we need not worry about tomorrow. If we seek God’s kingdom, then these things will be given to us.

These promises are often a great comfort to me, but how comforting are they to someone who just lost their job? It may seem more like God failed in His duty of care to provide. How do we reconcile that while God assured provision of our basic needs, there are millions in the world who don’t have those needs met?

Jesus gives us a clue about how God will make good on His promise to provide: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

If that’s what we’re supposed to do to ensure our basic needs are provided for, where do we go to find God here on Earth? Amongst His people, the Church.

The Church is the people of God, bringing His kingdom here on Earth until it comes in fullness at the resurrection of the dead.

But how does this help someone who just lost their job? The help is in the way the people of God are instructed to live. James 2 shows us:

“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking daily food, and one of you says to them ‘Go in peace, be warm and filled’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith without works is dead.”

The people of God are instructed to provide for the needs of their brothers and sisters. Someone seeking the kingdom of God should be surrounded by those eager to help meet their material needs, not just to wish them well and offer up a Psalm.

If the Church truly lives out its faith, then none who seek the kingdom of God should ever lack food, clothing or any other basic provision. And so, it is through His Church that God makes good on His promise to provide the needs of those who seek it.

If on the other hand, you just lost your job and don’t know what to do, call your local church, a faithful Christian friend or CAP. No one will know you need help unless you ask them. Seek and you will find. In doing this you can trust that your needs will be provided for.

In this moment, the Church should know what to say and do – it must be generous, more than usual because there is more need than usual. The people of God must be ready to give personally to those who need it and to organisations on the front line of this financial crisis, to ensure there is always an answer to “Hey, I just lost my job”.