In today's world, it has become all too easy for dedicated Christians to become financially overextended. As a result, many live in bondage to anxiety, and their preoccupation with financial worry robs them of their joy in Christ and hinders their witness to others.
Phil and Beverly are prime examples. This fine young Christian couple loved the Lord, and invested their time, talent and treasure to serve Him through their local church.
Then, one day, Phil saw a computer system he just had to have. They didn't have the money -- but the merchant was more than willing to extend credit. Phil took the system home that night.
At first, when the bills started coming, it wasn't too bad. But soon Beverly saw two beautiful dresses on sale, which she charged with her credit cards, and then the transmission of their car went out.
Before long, the minimum monthly payments on their charges were eating into their giving, savings, and discretionary funds. They found themselves struggling from paycheck to paycheck, and arguing over whose fault it was.
The joy that had been so evident in their lives turned into weariness and frustration. Eventually, Phil had to quit some of his volunteer work at the church so he could moonlight to make extra income.
In far too many cases the wife has found it necessary to sacrifice her priority time as wife and mother for a job to help meet the family "greeds" instead of the family "needs." In almost all cases, such financial struggles cause stress and friction within a marriage.
I am convinced that one of the most visible witnesses we can project to our neighbors is how we handle our checkbooks.
The Bible says, "the borrower is servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7, NIV). We do not normally think of it that way, but it is true. When you are indebted to a credit card company or any other lender, you become that lender's servant. The greater the debt, the greater the servanthood, a form of bondage, or slavery.
May God help us to be wise stewards of what he has given us, and stay out of bondage. We should always pray for and want a servant's heart, but not that kind of servant!
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.