Finance: Getting Out of Debt

Brian Clark

Finance: Getting Out of Debt

Throughout my ministry I have met several people who lived during the Great Depression. The American stock market ‘crashed’ on October 24, 1929. The effects of that crash lasted well into the 1940’s until WW II helped revive the American economy. (It is a sad truth that  a war will usually revive an economy as the nation pulls together, has to make the machines that allow a successful prosecution of a war, etc.) The people I met who went through the Depression were universally cautious, thrifty and hard working. And we all know why.

Monday…You will do yourself a favor by Googling the name, “Diogenes”. He is famous for (among other things) going around at night with a lighted lantern “looking for an honest man.” Diogenes was a Stoic philosopher who lived an incredibly simple lifestyle. He had gotten his possessions down to a bowl and a spoon when someone suggested to him that he really did not need the spoon–which he promptly discarded. Overboard to be sure, but how many people go overboard the other way…namely, by having so much ‘stuff’ that they are enslaved by it? See I Timothy 6:8.

Tuesday…My wife and I have been enjoying watching videos on YouTube about people who have hiked all or part of the Appalachian Trail. It is truly fascinating. I am amazed at how some of the folks are serious minimalists, that is they pare what they need on the trail down to an absolute minimum. A small piece of material serves as a tent, a small backpack carries eating utensils, water, basic food and spare clothing. Granted, they know where to stop along the way to replenish, but during the day they get along with virtually what they can carry. And they do this for several months at a time. As we ‘hike’ through our lives, what do we have to have? Do we know the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’? We must avoid at all costs being seduced by the consumerism which literally surrounds us with advertising which serves to make us feel inadequate and ‘behind’ in some way. I John 2:15; Romans 12:2.

Wednesday…Here is a sure-fire way to be prosperous and content: learn to delay gratification. Watch a baby and notice how they demand to be immediately gratified. They do not know better, of course. Now watch an adult demand the same thing and note how foolish, how awkward and how downright ridiculous they look. It is a sad fact that millions upon millions of Americans are in deep debt because they simply could not say ‘no’ to the new car, the new furniture, the expensive jewelry, the costly vacation, etc. Here is a corollary to delaying gratification: if you can’t pay for it cash, you don’t need it. There are exceptions here, of course, as in the case of medicine, the first house, etc., but generally this a great rule to   follow. Find your satisfaction…a deep, lasting satisfaction in things of the spirit. Philippians 4:11,12.

Thursday…Do you have a budget? America does…and violates it often to the chagrin of its citizens. Businesses all have budgets and those businesses get into trouble when they cannot or will not stay within the confines of the budget. Having a budget will help immensely as you seek to live within your means. Suggestion: the first item in the budget should be your offering/tithe to God. See Proverbs 3:9.

Friday…Baron von Rothschild famously said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.” He was right. Fortunes have been made and lost because of compound interest. When people refuse to live within their means and borrow money to pay for luxuries, they are headed for disaster as they get on the wrong side of interest. See Proverbs 22:7.

    by Dale Holzbauer