Submitted by Dr. Robert Wilkerson
“Owe no man anything, but to love one another…” (Romans 13:8).
Joe Father was worried about his children. They were grown. They had children of their own. Both of them worked. They appeared to have a good marriage but one thing bothered Joe. About every two or three months, his daughter would call him. She would make small talk for a while, talking about the kids, work, etc., but eventually she would get to the main point of the conversation. “Dad, we’ve got a couple of bills that we can’t pay. Could you help us out?” Joe was sympathetic to his daughter and her young struggling family and said, “Don’t worry about it; I will give you the money to help cover your bills this month.” However, that did not resolve the young couple’s financial problems. A month or two later, she called again with the same request and Joe responded in the same way again. This happened three or four times. Then it dawned upon Joe that he was not helping his daughter or her family by giving her money. Each time he gave it to her, she spent it and a few weeks later, she needed help again. Joe decided to find out what their problem was; why didn’t they make enough money to pay their bills? He began to ask his daughter about her debts; who did she owe; where did her money go.
What Joe discovered was startling. His daughter and her husband had the same bills as most young struggling families—mortgage payments, electric, gas, water, food, and two car payments (they both worked). The additional debt had caused the problem. They had discovered the wonderful invention of the credit card. At some time in the past, not having enough money to pay one of their bills, they charged it on a credit card. Once they started charging, it was an easy way to pay those tough bills each month. Soon one credit card was too high so they applied for additional cards. After a few years, numerous credit cards had their names on them and the payments on one or two were very high. Some months they had to charge money on one credit card to pay another. All the while, they were getting deeper and deeper in debt.
Joe Father finally got a little backbone. He told his daughter that giving her money didn’t help; therefore, he wouldn’t be giving her any more. He told her he loved her and that he would tell her how to get out of debt and stay out of it. The first thing he said was “get rid of your credit cards, cut them up, shred them, burn them or whatever it takes. Start with the credit card with the lowest balance and pay it off. Then take on the next lowest and pay it off, and on and on until they’re all paid off. If you think you can resist the temptation, keep one credit card for emergencies, and keep a zero balance on it by paying it off as soon as the bill arrives.”
What happened was amazing. They actually listened to Joe Father. Son-in-law took a second job to help pay off the cards. Within a year, they were virtually debt free.
It is sad that so many people don’t know or practice Biblical principles of money management. One of the principles that stands out very clearly is “Don’t borrow” (Deut.15:6; Proverbs 22:7)
. How many credit cards do you have?
Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a writer of Christian devotionals and books and founder of People For the Christian Way. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .