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Love Is a Debt You Owe

February 13th, 2019

Love is a responsibility. Debt is a liability.

“Love one another as I have loved you.”  John 13:34 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are that,
“Love Is a Debt You Owe.”

“Love Is a Debt You Owe.”

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a father gave his son this advice, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” Debt has become a way of life for too many. National economies depend upon increasing consumption, continually pressuring and persuading people that debt is a small price for gratification.

Debt comes with a high price. You can resist becoming overly indebted, and you should. Solomon acknowledged a simple truth, “The borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 NIV. The Bible is clear, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Read Romans 13:7-8 NKJV. Love is a debt you owe to God and others.

Clever marketing whets your appetite for more, and newer, and bigger, and better, and therefore more expensive. Your needs are rarely more, but your wants will always increase. The convenience of credit cards has made debt difficult to resist, generating the consumer economy while growing staggering indebtedness. Someone described debt as, “buying things you don’t need, with money you don’t have, to impress people who don’t care.” Debt begets a growing weight of debt, adding worry and shifting one’s focus from the future to a worrisome past. 

I grew up in a modest but comfortable, mid-western home. We never had too much, and we never thought we had too little either. I was taught that what you earn and all you have comes from God through His blessing on your honest labor. ”Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17 NLT.

Therefore, the first portion you give back to God as a Tithe, an act of worship in recognition of His benevolence and in obedience for His continued blessing. Read Malachi 3:10-12. After that, everything you have is a matter of stewardship, rather than ownership. The Bible is clear, “It is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2 NKJV.

From my Dad, I learned a practical, financial principle. “Never spend all that you earn, share some of what you have, and you will always have something extra when needed.” That became a rule of personal stewardship that I still follow today, and our family is better for that. Most importantly, God’s way is always best. Life is simpler; worries are fewer; freedom is greater. Debt results from trying to provide for yourself what God has not yet made available.

Now, the Bible speaks of a debt you cannot ignore and should not avoid. The Bible commands, “Give everyone what you owe him . . Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another . . Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm.” Read Romans 13:7-10 NIV. Those verses contrast financial debt with a loving lifestyle.

Love is a debt you owe. God’s way is always the right way.Jesus was clear, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you.”Read John 13:34-35 NKJV. Scripture teaches this. Financial debt is inadvisable. Relational debt is unavoidable.Here’s how I think they both relate and differ. Both are responsibilities to which you obligate yourself. Financial debt is about you and your wants. Relational debt is about others and their needs.

Financial debt preoccupies you more with yourself and with less thought and available means to serve others. Financial debt concerns you with satisfying your wants, paying your bills, while absorbing any leftovers. Relational debt redirects you toward others, giving instead of getting, meeting another need before your wants, and generously sharing the good you have received from God. Love promotes more love. Debt promises increasing debt.

Today, I pray for you to know that debt trades the ultimate for the immediate.

Christian Communications 2019

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