So pay everyone what you owe them. Pay the taxes you owe, pay the duties you are charged, give respect to those you should respect, and honor those you should honor. Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law (Romans 13:7-8, Common English Bible).
If I were to make New Year’s Resolutions, this one would need to be at the top of my list. I haven’t done well with this in my life. I also know that I am not alone.
It is hard these days to think of life without debt. When we hear over and over again about a national debt over 19 trillion dollars (that is 19 with 12 zeros behind it). It makes it seem like our little bit of debt, for most of us in the thousands is nothing.
It is also difficult to imagine being totally out of debt. Cindy and I don’t have a great deal of credit card debt. That does not mean we are debt free. I have a house note and student loans. For most of us it is difficult to imagine owning a home and having no debt. At the cost of higher education it is equally difficult to imagine getting ourselves and/or our children through school without debt.
I am fortunate. I own two cars. They are both paid for so I have no car debt. But, when we are looking at new car prices that begin at around $13,000 for a bare bones sub compact, few of us have that kind of money in the bank to go out and pay cash.
Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey teaches to live debt free, or at least close to it. Ramsey says you shouldn’t buy new cars and to pay cash for what you can afford and then make payments to yourself so you will have available cash the next time you need to buy a car.
He goes on to say that the only thing when should go into debt for is a home. Then you have half the money to put down and finance the remainder for 10 years and we should pay it off even more quickly if possible.
It is a good idea. Living it out is a good deal more difficult. I wouldn’t have a home, despite a sizable down payment, if it weren’t for debts. While I don’t have a car note right now, it doesn’t mean I have always been without one. I could go on but I think you get the idea.
Some might say the way to get out of debt is just to give up and not pay any more. Let the companies write it off. Just looking at the two verses above, I don’t think God would say that. Paul reminds us that a part of holy living is to pay everyone what we owe them. Getting out of debt means paying off those who have loaned us money, regardless of the purpose of the loan.
Ramsey also has some useful ideas for paying off our debts. He calls it the debt snowball. Get all your debts together. Find the one you owe the least on and pay everything you can afford to pay and get that one paid off while paying the minimums on the remaining bills. Once that first one is paid off, you take all the money you were paying on that debt and add it to the minimum for the next debt you owe and work to pay it off. Continue in that manner until all your creditors are paid in full.
It sounds like a good idea to me but there is no question I am no expert. I also know, when it comes to this one, I am not a very good example. Still, for many of us getting out of debt is both a desire and a difficult action to live out.
It is something worth living out. I do believe, to be debt free is an element of faithful discipleship. When we are debt free, we are in a position to be more generous. More on that tomorrow?
Are you debt free? Have you always been debt free? Do you have a workable plan the rest of us might benefit from your experience?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved