Last night our church held a Bible study led by our senior pastor, Vasile Filat. The study was about money and specifically, about debt. It was a great time of fellowship and very insightful for all. I would like to present some of the main truths from the study. I want to thank pastor Vasile for such a wonderful time. I pray that God will continue to bless and protect his family as he faithfully serves the flock here in Moldova and all over the world.
Have you ever met people who never can seem to get out of debt? They work and pay their bills as best that they can yet it seems like they are always behind. Maybe you are this person. Here are a few reasons why some people get in and stay in debt.
Not everyone who gets in debt is lazy and not everyone who cannot get out of debt is lazy but this could be a reason why one or both happen to a person. Here is what the Scriptures teach on this subject and how to overcome it.
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, 8 Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest. 9 How long will you lie down, O sluggard ? When will you arise from your sleep ? 10 “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest “- 11 Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man. (Proverbs 6)
The book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom. This is for people who need wisdom in their lives. That means that this book is for everyone because we all need wisdom in our lives. We are blessed to be able to receive the wisdom of the God of the Universe.
- the ant is a great example because it is very hardworking
- the ant is self motivated (does not need a chief, officer, or ruler to motivate it to work)
- the ant works at the right time and rests at the right time
- a lazy person is contrasted with the ant
- a lazy person always has a good excuse to take a short break (little sleep, slumber, rest)
- a little of a lot of things quickly turns into a lot
- laziness becomes a habit and is very hard to break
- once a person falls into a habit of laziness, poverty comes quickly
- once in poverty, he wants to get out but he cannot because he is trapped
If you are a person who is in debt and cannot get out, do a little self-evaluation. Is it because you are a lazy person and do not even realize it? Are you self-motivated or do you have to have someone pushing you to get things done?
There is another passage in Proverbs that gives more detail about the life of a lazy person. Let’s take a look at it together.
30 I passed by the field of the sluggard And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, 31 And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles ; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down. 32 When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. 33 “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” 34 Then your poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man. (Proverbs 24)
- A lazy person has the means to have a source of income but he does not take care of what he has (he has a field but is unattended)
- What talents has God blessed you with to have a source of income? How are you using these talents? How are you caring for the gifts that God has given you?
- A little becomes a lot fast (5 minutes on Facebook, then 5 minutes on email, then 5 minutes “surfing” the web, 5 minute chats here and there, you have spent an entire day 5 minutes at a time and not accomplished anything major, a day like that here and there adds us to a lot of time very quickly)
Laziness and point number 2 usually go hand in hand.
II. Undisciplined lifestyle
Paul had to write to the Church in Thessalonica because there were some “brothers” among them who were living an undisciplined lifestyle and it was hindering the work of the Gospel. Here is what he says:
6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order : if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. 14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (II Thessalonians 3)
The mature Christian is set in contrast with the immature Christian (or worse, the nonbeliever). The mature Christian wants to give, to help others. The immature Christian is like a child. He wants everyone else to take care of him. He wants to receive (gi’me, gi’me, gi’me). There is a great description of an undisciplined lifestyle in this passage.
- He wants to live off the back of another
- He does not want to work
- He seems busy but never gets anything done
- He always has a future job lined up but never seems to get it
- He wants an easy job with executive type pay and benefits (even without experience)
Maybe you cannot get out of debt because of an undisciplined lifestyle. If that is the case then you need to learn to plan your time so with maximum effort you get maximum results. Not everyone who is in debt lives a disordered lifestyle but that could be the reason. Do some self evaluation and see if you claim to work hard but actually have become a busybody (spend the whole day doing something yet never really get anything done).
III. Do not consign for someone else
For me this was hard to grasp because cosigning in the States is almost second nature for many, especially for those who are trying to establish credit or have no credit. I thought this was a good thing because one person helped another get what he/she needed. I did not even know that the Bible addressed this topic and I definitely did not know that God calls it sin. Let’s take a look at what the Word says.
My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor: go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor. Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler. (Proverbs 6:1-5)
Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm, but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure. (Pro 11:15)
One who lacks sense gives a pledge and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor. (Pro 17:18)
Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger, and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners. (Pro 20:16)
Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you? (Pro 22:26-27)
There are several ways that this can be manifested. One is, you cosign. Another is, you borrow a sum of money from one person and then let another person borrow that money with the hope/promise that he will pay you back so you can pay the first person back. Taking out a loan on an object is also not recommended because you are in danger of loosing it at any time. Not everyone who cosigns for another or takes loan on an object looses everything but there have been many, many people who have cosigned or took out a mortgage and ended up loosing everything. I am glad that I have never cosigned or mortgaged anything but now I am even gladder because I know why I should not do it.