Ten years ago this time we were afraid of Y2K. I remember, as the clock struck 12 that year, I wondered what would change in the coming year. Fortunately the immediate catastrophe we feared did not happen. We almost felt foolish later that year for believing in such a hoax and thankful we didn’t buy into it like some fanatics we knew who proclaimed the world was coming to an end in 2000.
Well, here we are ten years later with new concerns and many of the same. Our economy is perhaps the biggest current concern to our well being as a nation, and the biggest threat still terrorism. Again it is about money. As we discussed debt and loan management this morning, I felt the hopelessness of the situations people can get themselves into, and reassessed my reasons for going into debt to go back to college.
My career ideas are ever changing and developing, but what I fear, and I am not alone in this, is that even if I get my self-defined dream job, I wonder if I will be able to make enough money to subsist and pay off my loans. I am lucky to have many opportunities open to me in this century, but my interests in the realm of creative arts generally do not provide a substantial paycheck. I have always said I would rather do what I love than be wealthy and hate my job, but I should question, who says I can’t make a good living doing what I love? As long as I can find a benefit for mankind with my work and it is not dishonoring to the Lord, I am free to create my own vocation that would flourish. I think that if I trust the Lord to meet my needs, seek Him in my work, and use the wisdom and knowledge I have learned to live well with people, I need not fear financial instability. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in Christ Jesus.”
While God despises the rich who think they do not need Him, we are called to be good stewards of our money. Some decisions are out of our control, like the way government aid is set up, but we are responsible for our own decisions. The problem debt and most money issues, remember, is with people, not the system. People created the system, but people are flawed. Can we be wise and follow the system? Yes. The Word says to not be in bondage to any man (or anything) but to God. In Romans 13:7-8 Paul gives us this advice: “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”
God requires one thing: that we love him in return. If we love Him, Jesus says, “then keep my commandments”. Continuing in Romans 13:9, Paul sums up what Jesus told the people in the gospels: The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”