Friday, October 29, 2010

Master or Mastercard? Breaking the Debt Cycle

"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." -- Proverbs 22:7

Dave Ramsey, notably one of the foremost consumer finance experts, has said that sometimes you just have to get mad in order to make any progress eliminating personal debt.  Getting mad isn't quite enough for most of us.  We also have to take on extra jobs or deprive ourselves of things designed to make life easier and more enjoyable, like fast food meals, cellular and computer technology, and even family vacations.  Dave Ramsey, where were you before I got into debt?

One of the most difficult things in my personal struggle with debt reduction has been drawing the line when it comes to paying my bills.  By that I mean listing my expenses in priority order, then stopping when there isn't any money left, even if it means paying a creditor late or sending in just a partial payment.  All too often, I have cheated God by not paying my tithe, or paying my Mastercard on time then using it to buy items like groceries, gas, and other expenditures that should typically be paid for with cash.  Talk about a vicious cycle!  For all my effort, I'm still making painfully slow progress.  I'm sure God must just roll his eyes and shake his head some days, wondering if I'll ever get the hang of good stewardship!

Recently I went back to work part-time to help accelerate our debt repayment and accomplish some other personal goals.  Since I have yet to collect my first paycheck, money is still really tight, but I have decided to break the cycle TODAY.  My tithe is paid, I have set aside a minimal amount of cash to cover living expenses, and I have postponed paying a couple of creditors until the money is there.  No more charging!  No more relying on Mastercard to fund my daily living expenses -- it's time I trusted in the Master to keep his promises!  He has proven faithful to me many times, although I have not always been a faithful steward of what he has entrusted to me.

Who is your master?  Jehovah Jireh, your Provider, or Visa and American Express?  It is time we learn to be satisfied with God, be content with the basic necessities of life, and walk in the financial freedom that comes from trusting in the Master to provide all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

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