Yes, the cost of living is starting to control the political agenda again.
We all grinned and bore it during Covid; and many benefited from government handouts. But Russia's invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global trade, put up the cost of energy and threatened the market in commodities such as sunflower oil and wheat.
There is, and will be, real hardship. Many will have to trim their leisure ambitions or make choices about basics. Political opportunists will use it to vent old grievances and strikes will further impact many people's lives.
But there is another crisis; the cost of giving!
Christian households are also counting the pennies. Often, when that happens, the first thing to suffer is our giving to the Lord - as we assume that churches and missions do not need the little contributions we make.
But that is not true. If we are part of a church, who pays for the heating and lighting and the minister's support? If we have supported mission, the needs of missionaries and living costs do not reduce if we stop giving.
Many people who give through Standing Order do not annually refresh the amount to keep pace with inflation. So many Christian resources are available, apparently free, online and we get used to assuming that we can enjoy our Christian life with no expense ... but they all cost the church or the mission, and somebody is paying..
Remember the widow in Zarephath? She and her son were down to their last meal but she gave it to Elijah and the Lord continued to supply all her needs (1 Kings 17:7-24). The widow seen by Jesus giving her last coins at the temple was commended by Jesus (Luke 21:1-4), the boy who gave up his picnic fed 5,000 (John 6:9). Queen Esther could have lost her head in pleading for the Lord's people but she dared to offer all she had; the Lord did save His people (Esther 4:14).
In times of hardship for whatever reason, how do we keep our giving in line with the graciousness of our God, without being controlled by fear of financial failure?
Giving is linked to prayer. What we pray about, we invest in. If we spend money without praying about it, we are liable to drift from spiritual priorities.
In this time of overwhelming global need, please set time aside to pray about how the Lord wants to use the money and talents He has given to you.