Pastor’s ponderings

Last week I did something that I haven’t done in a long time.  I applied for a credit card.  My wife and I have not had a credit card for many years, but after what seemed like a series of unfortunate events in recent weeks, we decided that we each needed to have one for emergency purposes.  Now, I’ll be honest, I was very hesitant about doing so, for, as I mentioned above, we haven’t had them in a long time.  It wasn’t that we had anything against credit cards, but we knew from previous experience that they presented a temptation that was sometimes hard to resist.  Living on credit can be dangerous.

            This time of year, during the holiday season, people are using credit cards left and right.  According to one report I read, last year American’s racked up an average of almost $1,400 in debt from their holiday shopping purchases, and, it is said, an overwhelming majority won’t be able to pay it off when the bill comes due next month.  In fact, according to another study, nearly a third of those in debt from the holidays, take on the burden anticipating that they can pay it off with their tax return a few months later.

            There’s been a lot of talk over the years as to whether credit cards are biblical.  Well, there obviously was no such thing as credit cards during the time that the Bible took place or was written, so it doesn’t say anything directly about them.  Yet, Scripture does present us with some ideas for consideration.  This is most especially found in Romans 13:8 where it says: “Owe no one anything, except to love one another…” (NRSV).  The simple fact is that we are not to ever place ourselves in debt to another, because in so doing, we hand over control of our lives to that other person/bank/institution.  I know, because I made some mistakes in my youth in regards to credit cards and spent many years paying the consequences for it. 

            But, here’s the thing.  Psalm 37:21 declares, “The wicked borrow, and do not pay back, but the righteous are generous and keep giving.”  What does this have to do with anything, you may ask?  Well, for me it’s a faith thing.  We can’t take what is not ours, and what is ours must be given away because it’s not ours either.  Huh?  Well, think about it.  Jesus paid the ultimate price for us all, didn’t he?  For that we are eternally indebted to him.  The question is – how are you going to respond to it?  Just keep living on credit, with no intention of repaying him for what he has done? OR, go out of your way to do all that you can, with all that you have, to be in service to others for him?  After all, that is what he requires of us.  Those are his terms of service agreement – that we are good stewards of what we have been given, all on credit, with anticipation of immediate repayment.                                   

                                                            Always pondering,

                                                            Pastor Steve

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