Student loans? Broken down cars? How am I ever going to pay this off? Those are some pretty normal reactions to debt, and ones we have heard a little bit about this past month on the COMPASS blog.
What strikes me though as I think about these questions, is a reminder of the way God is present even in the face of our stress, uncertainty, doubt, and fear, all of which can surface when thinking about money and debt.
The Gospel of Luke is full of stories and parables from Jesus about money, wealth, poverty, and debt. For example, there is the confusing parable of the Dishonest Manager found in Luke 16:1-13.
In this story we hear of a manager who has been called to account for his business. In the face of what sounds like the manager’s certain firing, he goes about reducing the amount owed by different individuals in the community to the manager’s master. This is something that certainly could be praised, in that those oppressed and marginalized by debt were getting some of it forgiven. Of course, the story is much more complicated than that.
It’s not as likely in our daily life that someone will come along and just because they can, reduce the amount of debt we owe. If you are assuming that is going to happen for you, I wish you well, but I wouldn’t advise you to plan and budget that way.
Debt is a reality of life. It doesn’t need to be a crushing one, however. It only has power, like money, when we give it that power. We can certainly live in fear of it, if we are not careful. And unexpected and big expenses can help lead us to be in fear.
A couple of days ago, my wife and I faced one of the downsides of moving across country from Washington to Nebraska…