Thursday, September 19, 2013

Debt-Free Living: A Christian Vocation

You know what one factor contributed the most to not only our recent financial crisis, but to the Great Depression as well? Debt. Debt is slavery. It inevitably leads to crisis.

Proverbs tells us, "the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender" (22:7). This is what happens when the people at the top of the pyramid exploit the people at the bottom. They don't raise wages, but they have no problem having people borrow money from them. They have no problem putting people into debt-slavery. Both major financial crises in the last 100 years have resulted from this phenomenon.

What do we do? Stay out of debt. Get out of debt. Have you ever thought, "I wonder how much money I would have if I didn't have any debt"? The abundance is there. We just have to be good stewards of it.

Say what you want about Dave Ramsey, but he refuses to let people treat their debt as an ontological given, just a part of life that has to be accepted. He wakes people up to the reality that they can get out of debt; they don't have to be in slavery. He might be helping the economy more than any one politician because he lives to assist people in freeing themselves from debt.

But to do it, we have to get rid of our commodity fetishism. We have to stop spending money we don't have, especially on things we don't need. Karl Marx said, "Money is the alienated essence of man's labour and life, and this alien essence dominates him as he worships it." Except, in the case of the bottom 90%, this money worship has become credit worship.

You can get out of debt. You can. Debt is not an ontological given! I paid off thousands of dollars on my car before I was a Senior in college, and now I don't have a car payment. My wife and I are killing off her last bit of student loan debt in the next two months. I am not just bragging, I am making a point: you can get out of debt!

If you are out of debt (or when you get out of debt), help others get out. If you really want to help the economy, get out of debt and help others get out of debt. We need to break down our autonomous, prideful, keep-it-to-yourself money management. We need to start being honest with our friends and churches about where we're at, and we need to start helping our friends when we can. If you don't have money troubles and your friend does, help your friend out--selflessly; as Jesus said, "You received without paying; give without pay" (Matt. 10:8) and, again, "give without expecting to get anything back" (Lk. 6:35). Or, as we are told in Deuteronomy 15, if anyone is poor among you, "do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need" (vv.7-8). A few verses earlier, we are told,
"there need not be any poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you." (vv.4-6; emphasis mine)
The abundance is there. Use it wisely; don't feed the system, don't go into slavery.

(See also, my blog on "Eucharist Money Management," here)

7 comments:

  1. The post is great.atlast I find some relevency of the work over here. Thank you so much. I will be stay in touch.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The quality of information that you are providing is simply marvelous. Great post and I like your tips and understanding. I have always been interested into the financial know-how. Thank you.
    unsecured loans bad credit

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, Nice post. your tips about debt collection is very encouraging. And also you can pay your debt with determination, debt-fighting resources.
    Debt free living
    Thanks for this post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete