Tuesday, September 1st Proverbs 22:6-7

Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Proverbs 22:6-7

I’ll bet you never noticed before how those two verses stand immediately next to each other…me either. We’ve all heard the first one…and most have ignored the second.

If you asked my son for some of his favorite memories of his childhood – I know this because I have – he will tell you about the day that I suddenly pulled off the freeway, drove into the Target parking lot, and bought him a new video game player that he really wanted but I couldn’t afford. He will tell you of the excitement he had over getting something new in a totally uncharacteristic and surprising way. I will tell you about what it feels like to get over your head in credit card debt.

Welcome to our brave new world.

While we were worrying about teaching our children right and wrong, bringing them to Sunday School and church, paying close attention to their friends and their behaviors and what they were watching on TV…they were watching us.

They saw us buy things we couldn’t afford. They saw how credit cards lied to us with their sleek promises of “have a great time today…you’ll have plenty of time to pay me later.” Plenty of time is right. If you pay $300 each month on a $20,000 credit card debt at 12% interest it will take you over 9 years to pay it off.

Proverbs is right. The borrower is the slave of the lender.

But the past year has also taught us that that door swings both ways. Because if the borrower is unable, or unwilling, to pay off the lender, then the lender – or whoever ultimately ends up holding the debt – ends up holding thin air and multiplied debts of their own. It is a vicious circle that creates a vicious world.

The sad truth is that it isn’t merely foolish purchases on credit that gets us into trouble. It is very difficult to live a middle class life without accumulating debt. When we start our adult life by borrowing a house-worth of money to get an education, we start off in a hole. We borrow money for homes, cars, appliances, vacations and toys. We get behind and we start borrowing money to fix our homes, fix our cars and replace our appliances.

If a serious health crisis or some other big ticket time comes up in our lives, we’re sunk. We get so deep into a hole that we no longer feel whole.

And our children are watching us.

My son is a sophomore in college now. Last year he wanted a different car. The hand-me-down Ford he was driving was having some problems. I told him, in no uncertain terms, do not borrow unnecessary money in college. Do not start building debt before you even begin building your life. Don’t start in a hole. Don’t do what I did. And no, I’m not going to enable it. I’m not going to co-sign for anything.

He is still driving his Ford. He doesn’t have a credit card. He still has a chance to do it right.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, you promise daily bread but we want a 24 smorgasbord. We keep trying to fill the holes in our lives with stuff when all we truly need is you, your will, your guidance, your love. Draw near to those who live in fear, on the edge, and help them take one step at a time to a new place of peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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4 Responses to “Tuesday, September 1st Proverbs 22:6-7”

  1. MO BRONSTAD Says:

    Pastor Kerry;
    This was a very good statement.
    Roxie & I were very responsible in managing our resources while raising 4 children born 1960-1966. All of them went off to college and graduated without taking on debt.
    I remember one time we were talking about why none of them followed me into engineering. Our youngest daughter said, “We didn’t think engineers made good money.”
    Living within your means is a challenge! When I think of how government promotes dependency with outrageous policies like Fannie & Fredie & so many entitlements that have produced 2nd & 3rd generation living in public housing, I don’t think Govt is sincere in helping
    it’s citizens. High School drop outs, teen pregnancy, child abuse, etc are an outrageous commentary on irresponsible living. Has it gotten any better?

  2. Fiona Maskell Says:

    Thanks for the insights and the creative turn of phrase – most poetic explanation of the financial crisis yet!

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