Debt is a burden that can take over our lives if we give it the chance. The Bible warns us about the consequences of debt, and how we become enslaved to the people we are indebted to. Proverbs 22:7 tells us “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is the slave to the lender.” Once we become a slave to debt, we can be pulled away from God and it becomes harder to serve the mission for which God has called us.
God does not want us to be cursed by debt, and we are going to shed some light on how you can relieve yourself of debt and learn the principles of Catholic money management.
Praying is the first step to handling any challenging situation and it is necessary to pray for wisdom and guidance in order to get out of debt. Seeking Godly counsel is an important second step for getting new perspectives and advice from a voice of experience. Finally it is important to figure out exactly what you do have that will help you pay off debt.
One of the best Bible stories about getting out of debt comes from 2nd Kings, chapter 4: the story of the widow and the oil. The widow was expected to pay her husband’s debts, or her two sons would become slaves to the debt collectors. She didn’t know what to do until she sought the counsel of the prophet Elisha. He kept asking her what she had and she finally realized she had a small bit of oil. Elisha told her to borrow jars from her neighbors and pour her oil, the only possession of value she had, into the jars. Even with the seemingly small amount of oil, it did not run out until the last jar was filled. She was able to sell the jars of oil to pay her husband’s debt and keep her sons out of slavery.
There are several important principals we can learn from this story.
The first thing is to pray for guidance. Seek godly counsel. Understand what assets you do have. Adding up your expenses vs. your income allows you to see the big picture and find out how much money is ‘leaking’ through your fingers each month. Tracking and analyzing every penny you spend allows you to see where you can cut spending and divert money to paying off debt. Knowing what is coming in and going out puts you in control of your finances and debts instead of them controlling you.
The widow in 2 Kings did not realize what she had until she was asked, and we often have things that we do not need that can be used to make extra money. Try a garage sale, bartering with like-minded neighbors and friends and selling things on eBay.
Society draws us into believing that certain patterns of behavior are normal, even if they are negative, and this includes being in debt. When we are in debt, it is usually the result of spending money we don’t have. To combat this pattern, we need to drop the mentality that more stuff will make us happier. Focus on enjoying what you already have. Separate wants from needs. When we can appreciate and be content with what we already have, then we will always have everything we need.
Whether you have a lot of debt or a little bit – pay if off. By applying the principles of Catholic money management, you can pull yourself out of debt, no matter how much debt you have. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being entirely debt free – it comes with limitless possibilities to fulfill the unique purpose God has for you.
Until next time we hope you have a blessed week,