There have been few things along the way that has spurred on “creative conversation” with Jan like financial debt. Perhaps in no greater context do we see the relationship between debt to lender / debt to love more conversely on display than in marriage. What I mean is, the more couples are in debt financially, the more difficult it is to freely love one another.
I counsel quite a few couples, and many times money is somewhere in the “eye” of the “hurricane” going on around them. I understand this and have lived it at times. I thank God that we have been free from debt (except our mortgage) for several years now. We still struggle with managing what we have, and still have our arguments, but the difficulties are not nearly as pronounced as they were when we were in debt.
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. – Proverbs 22:7
Ever felt that way? Do you currently feel that way?
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. – Romans 13:8-10
Have you every felt like you’ve worked your fingers to the bone to get out of debt? Have you ever felt like you’ve labored like that to love others?
Debt and love raise some pretty difficult questions. See, money was regularly at the center of Christ’s description of the Kingdom of God, as well as what it cost to be a part of that Kingdom. Now, before we inadvertently veer into any talk of “paying” for salvation, let’s observe…
And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. – Revelation 21:6
No payment required. That’s good news, right? Isn’t that the best news when you get that last bill that you’ve struggled so hard to pay off only to see (essentially) “no payment required” in the “Amount You Owe” line? This is the cross-section of debt and love. Jesus redeemed His own. He purchased pardon for His sheep, and His payment lasts forever.
So, we see (and feel) that financial debt can help us consider the Gospel. Remaining in debt to the lender shows a lack of faith, trusting in a bank to provide for needs, as opposed to trusting God’s provision through work and even His church. If we claim to be people of faith, yet trust in men, God is not pleased (Jeremiah 17). He desires our happiness in Him, and He promises that His own will be happiest when they trust in Him ALONE!
Pretty soon, you’ll receive a letter in the mail regarding some comments I made this past Sunday about the church’s debt, especially the line-of-credit. I encourage you to prayerfully read the letter and consider how the gospel can be imaged in how we deal with, and respond to, the debt that we have. I believe we can show a great witness to God’s glory in how we remove the debt, as much as we will display on that day that we are out of debt altogether.
I believe the principles of debt and love will show in our fellowship all along the way. The less debt becomes an issue, the more love will be our aim. Christ said our love will show the world we are His (John 13:35). So, if we want to enhance that Christ-honoring love in our midst, we must learn how to actually deal with debt, sustain ministry in faith, and risk everything for the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).