How deeply are you in financial debt? You can’t serve Visa, Discover, MasterCard and your Master at the same time. Statistics show that a majority of college students get sucked (suckered?) into credit card debt while in college. It is not much prettier in the grown-up world.
Christians are supposed to be living lives under the Lordship of Jesus, right? Our choices should reflect our worldview and His character and concerns, right? Yet studies continue to reveal that Christians give woefully little money to the work of God. Many barely tithe, give offerings, or much to the cause of missions (less than 2% of their income one study showed).
So I propose a solution: go ahead and hold a debt reduction revival. First, cut up the credit card(s) that you cannot handle; Second, complete a review of your spending the past six months to a year to see where your income and expenses actually are; Third, prepare a budget to live by; Fourth, aggressively reduce your debt in the next six to twelve months. Fifth, recognize the sort of changes in your spending habits you will need to learn and embrace. Sixth, share your plan with a trusted friend who has shown that they can handle their finances. Give them permission to inquire about your progress and ask you tough questions if need be. Seventh, start saving.
Imagine where you could be one year from now if you saw the danger of credit card debt. I know from working with people that debt can make them do some mighty desperate things.
Read 2 Kings 4:1-7. Note that Proverbs 22:7 says, “The borrower is subject to the lender.”
In the 2 Kings passage, a prophet’s widow was desperate because her creditor was coming to take her two sons away as slaves to satisfy her indebtedness. By comparison, that makes 20% annual interest on any purchase look pretty good, right? But please avoid high interest rates.
There are practical and supernatural ways out of debt. I’ve heard of churches that paid off the debts of its church members. Those who received help had to be members and were expected to give to others once they get their “house” in order. They were expected to follow steps like I listed above while the other members gave until their debts were taken care of.
Imagine what that church is like! The generosity of those people must have seemed like a miracle, similar to what happened in 2 Kings 4. All the poor woman had left was a little oil and Elisha told her to get as many jars as she could and start pouring the oil she had into them. Once she filled all of them, the oil stopped. She then went and sold the jars of oil and was able to pay off her debts…and…she and her sons had enough oil left over to live off of.
For many of us, divine assistance is as simple as following the lessons taught in the Bible. If you pay attention, Scripture is full of principles that will keep you away from irresponsible choices and out of financial debt. In my work with students, I much preferred teaching prevention than providing a cure. If you are in financial debt from your college spending habits, don’t dig a deeper hole. Learn from your mistakes and take proper steps to get back on track.
Let the “Master” teach you how to deal with the pretenders (i.e., MasterCard) to your heart, mind, and soul’s health. Rather than being a slave to credit, you can find and gain a “visa” to financial freedom. Walk wisely. Debt does not pay.
Love is a verb,