We live in a culture of debt. People borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy houses. They borrow tens of thousands of dollars for cars and college tuition. And then they rack up credit cards debts in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, too. This way of life is almost unquestioned in modern America. But does the Bible say anything about debt?
Yes. Proverbs 22:7 and 22:16 warn us today that debt is actually a form of slavery. Read the verses for yourself below. In ancient Israel and much of history, debtors (people who owe others money) would often become actual slaves to the lenders (the people who loaned them money) if they couldn’t pay off their loans. We don’t do that any more today. But the stress and pressure of owing so much money to banks and credit card companies can be overwhelming. People who can’t pay their debts may end up losing their vehicles and homes and even having to file bankruptcy, or start all over financially. When you have loans, you must work and work hard, for years and even decades, to earn the money to pay off those loans. Your time and energy and worries belong to those creditors until those debts are paid.
At your age, you hopefully do not yet have any debt. But you may feel the pressure of debt on your family. My prayer for all of our NRCA families is that God would provide for our needs as we learn to live within our means. With the rising costs of health insurance and living expenses these days, that may mean living with less stuff so that we can enjoy more financial freedom and peace of mind. If you sense that your parents are burdened greatly about money, you might humbly mention resources like “Financial Peace” from Dave Ramsey, which many churches use in classes to help adults get out of debt. There is even a version for children and teenagers (“Smart Money, Smart Kids”) that Dave co-wrote with his now married daughter, Rachel Cruze. And determine now while you are young that you will not follow our culture’s cycle of debt and slavery, but live with less so that you can be free to serve Christ and others better and enjoy life more.
The Text (Proverbs 22:7,16)
7 The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.
16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, And he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty.
Questions to Think About
- What are some ways that you could start working and earning money now as teenager? How might working as a teenager help you in more ways than just making money?
- Have you talked with your parents about how you will pay for your first car and for college? Are the choices you can make and things you can do ahead of time that might limit or eliminate entirely the need to borrow money for a car and college?
- Did you know that Bible talks money more than any other topic? Why do you think that is the case?