Thoughts

Giving out of debt?

Lately, I have been reading about the American debt crisis; it is a difficult story to avoid through these months of economic turmoil. Unfortunately for us, the future doesn’t look too bright. The average American household has close to $16,000 in credit card debt alone. There are hundreds of programs that promise to lead you to a debt free life. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University — you can check it out here:

http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/home/

Before we take that first step toward getting out of debt, we need to examine our priorities. I wonder if our debt has less to do with our habits and more to do with the posture of our hearts. I heard a great story recently about a wealthy man who was the elder of a church. His pastor recounted that no matter what ministry his church was involved in, this man was there with his money and his time. When asked why he was so committed to supporting ministries with financial contributions, he remarked, “every dime I have is God’s, he just gave it to me to redistribute‚Ķ” This man saw his wealth as a gift from God.

Not too long ago, financial debt was really considered a form of slavery. It wasn’t acceptable. In many cultures, if you borrowed money — you would literally be enslaved by your lender until you could return the payment. You lost your freedom and your rights. If you really consider the consequences of debt, I think we would all agree it is not so different today. I have watched people work through programs to become debt-free and have witnessed some amazing stories. But, each of the miraculous successes began with a change of heart. Like the church elder, these people stopped seeing their time and money as their own. They adopted an attitude of stewardship about their resources.

I really believe this change of heart can take place with the first act of giving. Giving is holy; it is a true expression of compassion. With our first selfless offering, we acknowledge that ourwealth isnot only there for our enjoyment and our own sense of security. Giving, and the deep and lasting satisfaction that we derive from it, is the origin of lasting transformation. The act of giving can lead us to a different view of how to handle our resources. There can be no room for debt when we surrender to the truth that we are only caretakers of what God has given us. The very first step on the road totrue financial freedom, the first break in the chain of financial slavery and debt – might just begin witha commitment togiving.

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