Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill.” How will others view you if you practice this advice?
How are you doing in paying off your debts? How does it bring glory to God for us to do so?
Financial guru and radio talk show host Dave Ramsey frequently says, “Debt is normal. Be weird.” In an age where charging purchases to a credit card and spending beyond one’s means are common practices, Ramsey urges his listeners to “act their wage,” save up, and—other than the occasional online or phone order—pay cash for their purchases.
To be fair and balanced, there are occasions when incurring a debt is a legitimate option. Otherwise, Jesus wouldn’t have said, “Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow” (Matthew 5:42). But Ramsey’s point is well taken. Whenever it’s possible, living debt-free is the way to be. As the proverb says, “the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
Regardless of our financial state, there’s one debt that each of us owes to our fellowman. It’s a debt that the apostle Paul wrote about in his letter to the Christians in Rome. After addressing a Christian’s responsibility to civil authorities and explaining why Christians should pay their taxes, he wrote, “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law” (Romans 13:8).
This was not the first time Paul urged the Christians in Rome to show love toward each other. Just one chapter earlier he wrote, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:10). It’s as if Paul returned to the theme of loving our fellowman because it’s such an essential aspect of life—something that can’t be stressed too much.
Loving our neighbor is an ongoing debt. It’s one obligation that we could never or should never fully repay.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Judges 16:1-21
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