Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Let's talk about some money!

I read an interesting story the other day that I thought I would share with you since you just got to pay your taxes this past April. Apparently little Johnny wanted $100 badly and prayed to God for two weeks, but nothing happened. Then he decided to write a letter to God requesting the $100. When the postal authorities received the letter addressed to God, USA, they decided to send it to former President George Bush. The President was so impressed, touched, and amused that he instructed his secretary to send Johnny a $5.00 bill, as this would appear to be a lot of money to a little boy. Johnny was delighted with the $5.00, and sat down to write a thank-you note to God. It said: “Dear God, Thank you very much for sending me the money. However, I noticed that for some reason you had to send it through Washington, DC and as usual, those jerks deducted $95.”

All of us have experienced this, haven’t we? With all the talk about the economy, stimulus packages, and bail outs, I thought it would be a good idea to offer you some solid, biblically based advice this month related to debt. Recently a Christian research group (called LifeWay Research) did a study that showed that one in every four church members were struggling with debt. While this is well below the national average, it is still troubling. Further, the study revealed that each wee the average church member spends $1.25 for every $1.00 he or she earned. The result has been that many of God’s people have become ineffective in ministry and spiritually as a result of debt. So what can you do? Well over the next couple of blogs, let me give you some practical, Biblically based principles which will help.

First, decide today to become as debt free as possible. God’s Word says in Psalm 37:21, “The wicked borrow and do not repay…” God does not bless our inability to pay our bills and creditors. The answer is not to file bankruptcy. If we have a debt as a believer, we are obligated to both God and our creditors to formulate a strategic plan for paying it off as quickly as possible. This must be an intentional effort. Maybe you need to get with a Christian financial counselor or someone who is financially savvy to help you come up with a plan to repay your debt. Once you come up with your plan, share it with your creditors. Explain to them why a better payment plan is in the interest of both parties. Bankruptcy really shouldn’t be an option for you since most creditors will work with people who are willing to make a consistent effort of repayment. I love what Dave Ramsey says, "The place to go if you are broke is to work."