Living With Purpose by Matt Dobson
A father with two children in college and one in high school once stated, “Money isn’t everything, but it sure keeps you in touch with your children!” Money is a subject that is not left out from God’s instruction book called the Bible. God expects wise use of it lest you find yourself in over your head with debt. Now, the subject of debt is a personal issue and one that requires you to be accountable and practice self-discipline. Perhaps you are concerned about debt or money troubles. Maybe you haven’t experienced as much prosperity in life as you would have liked. Let’s talk about money and the heavy weight of debt in the column this week.
Understanding this is a positive thinking column, debt tends to take us away from that thought process. Debt is negative and tends to hold you back. In fact, debt could be considered a “net” that tangles a person and keeps you from living life with the freedom you would like. A man in debt is a man caught in a net. In the struggle to free yourself, the net seems to get tighter and tighter. You wonder when the phone rings—“Is it a collector?” A letter comes in the mail; you open it and find it’s a collection agency attempting to collect what you owe. Maybe you avoid certain people who you have borrowed from. This fear should not be and doesn’t always have to be.
From God’s great wisdom comes the help we need. He wants to help you. Psalm 25:15 says, “My eyes are ever toward the Lord for He will pluck my feet out of the net.” It’s a matter of consulting God and humbly telling Him your need. God says in James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” This is our hope! If you are drowning in the “sea of debt” and you’re looking for a lifeline, consider what help is there. This is the time to recognize you may have over spent yourself. Humbly acknowledge what has happened and allow God to give insight and how to handle it. God will help you no matter how the debts were incurred. God doesn’t take joy in seeing His children suffer. He knows some of our debt comes from sudden emergencies, times of sickness, and lack times when we must borrow through no fault of our own. Finding money to make the payment is not always easy and may sometimes mean self-denial, but God is there to help.
I can remember about 14 years ago I was married with kids. I was working two jobs, but we still found it difficult to pay all our bills. In fact, we were getting behind. We needed $254.18 for the late electric bill. Where was I going to get it? I didn’t know what I was going to do. I got on my knees and prayed God would give me some insight and direction. The next day I got a call from a running friend asking if I would run in a race he was directing. Racing had been put on hold for me because of work and family responsibilities. I was not in-shape to toe-the-line for a race, particularly that one. Fast runners were always there because prize money was awarded to the winners. I told him, “No, not this year.” He insisted and said he would waive my entry fee. I took a leap of faith and decided to go. I had won many races before, but I was not in racing shape and was carrying a low confidence into the race. I prayed God would give me strength to do my best and hoped super-natural strength would be in my favor. The starting gun went off and I took off, along with 2500 other runners. It was a real struggle for I was not in competitive form, but I hung on and was able to overcome the leader with less than a mile from the finish. The trophy was beautiful, but when my eyes saw the amount of the winning check—$250.00, I praised God all the way home! God helped me…God provided. I even found a five dollar bill lying on the ground in the parking lot! This more than covered the $254.18 electric bill. I was a happy and thankful man!
I tell you that story because it shows where there is a need; God will always give you the supply in some form, in some way. But it requires you trust Him and have faith. You have a “sin” debt and Jesus has paid your sin debt in full when he died on the cross for you. He was resurrected and now sits at the right hand of God. Accept him as your Savior. God takes care of His children when they call upon Him in their need (Psalm 34:17).
Paying off debt is not easy and it sometimes means self-denial. But God is ready and willing to help you. To pay your debts may mean living beneath your means for a while, moving to a cheaper place, or buying with cash instead of charging it. Try to save a little when you can, if at all possible. You will be amazed at how far your money can be stretched when seeking God’s help and His plan for money management. Try not to be overly discouraged. Charles Dickens, the famous author, worked hard for years to pay off his debts. Out of his struggles some of the best stories were written. Abraham Lincoln had a country store to go under and he struggled with debt. Yet, he grew to understand the struggles of people who accumulate debt. Try not to let your debt breed fear. “Cast all your anxieties upon the Lord, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Honor Him by finding a church to go to and worship, attend faithfully, and follow God in all your ways.
- This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at www.living-with-purpose.org.