Debt is all around us, and most of us have some type of debt currently. I just read a statistic yesterday that less than 50% of all Americans have any net worth at all, meaning that less than 50% of us have monetary value (including assets) over the amount of monetary debt we owe. Financially, then, most Americans are worth less than zero. Think about that. Our country has changed over time and we are a nation of debtors living in a nation of debt. Yes, debt has always, and will always be around, but we are now going into debt for things people in the past would never have considered signing away their future earnings for.
So, what does God teach us about debt, money, and how we can faithfully handle our finances? Now, obviously I’m not going to be able to cover every scripture or every situation. There are many good resources out in the market today that do a better job covering all of that than I ever could. But, I did want to cover a specific aspect of debt that people tend to wink at; Proverbs 22:7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave. Really think that over; you are a slave to anyone you have borrowed money from. Do you owe a bank, credit company, hospital, the government, etc…?
Whoever you owe money to, you are their slave. You work for them. Your money is theirs, and that is a Biblical concept. In an age where we borrow money from all of these places, we have so many masters we can’t count them. Remember where it says that we can’t serve two masters? Wow. We just don’t think of these things, and what we want, we want it now. If we need an automobile, why of course we take out a loan because the masters make it easy to make monthly payments. We demand a college education, so we take out a loan because the masters act as though we’ll be able to easily pay it back. Our very nation is sinking in debt, and whoever holds our debt is our master. Scarey, hunh?
Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another… If we owe someone money, we give them power over us, and it limits what we can do with our work. Everything that we have comes from God, and our best position is to be free to use what God blesses us with how He sees fit. If we owe money, our money is yoked to the lender. Now, if someone is in need, the answer can be giving, not borrowing.
Giving someone money (or things) freely, with no strings is different than lending. It by-passes usury, and hard feelings. The other answers come in how we view the world and our needs. When I taught logic and philosophy at college, I urged my students to sit and write out their actual needs; what do you need to live? It’s a short list. We live in a world that tells us we NEED all of these various things, but it is a lie. Don’t believe the lie, live below your means, surround yourself with wise people, read wise words, control you money, don’t let it control you, etc…
We should strive to be aware, strive after Godly wisdom and Godly ways. We should also chafe a little bit when contemplating who are master, or masters are, and finally ask ourselves if our money is serving us (and God), or are we serving it?