September 22 – Borrowed Time

Do this now [at once and earnestly], my son, and deliver yourself when you have put yourself into the power of your neighbor; go, bestir and humble yourself, and beg your neighbor [to pay his debt and thereby release you]. Proverbs 6:3 AMP

When you run in debt you give to another power over your liberty. Noah Webster

Indebtedness is common place and will be as long as the earth exists and people do the business of living. And there will always be benevolent men and women who leverage it kindly. On the other hand, somebody will also be right there making sure they get the upper hand on their fellow man in need.

I can’t get away from the fact: if I borrow, I owe. Regardless of how able I become, as long as there is a debt with my name on it, my plans and actions have to revolve (in some degree) around that obligation.

There are many ways to “be in debt” but the most common is financial. And in this Proverb, the writer instructs his son to quickly eliminate the situation and steer clear of future transactions, even with a neighbor!

Believe me, I’ve got a good-sized family, and have the responsibility to make sure there is food on that table and clothes on those backs. And for me, that’s the point. When I had debts swimming around us, born out of temporary comfort, I couldn’t rest well. Somebody else dictated the table, in a behind-the-scenes kind of way.

Don’t misunderstand, it is not my place to tell anybody how to conduct their affairs, financial or otherwise. But it is my heart to share areas like this in light of ancient wisdom from God’s Word.

Debt, by definition, has enslaving possibilities for persons or nations. And to be free of them is to suggest personal solvency and diplomatic frugality. If there was ever a time for a “debtless” atmosphere, it’s now.

I pray, today, for those of us who struggle to make ends meet. I pray that wisdom might come and an answer to the dilemma be realized. And for those of us who could and should do more with less, may the motivation to do so be overwhelming.

And may the chains and shackles be broken.

 

 

 

August 21 – How the Big One Got Away

 Let not mercy and kindness [shutting out all hatred and selfishness] and truth [shutting out all deliberate hypocrisy or falsehood] forsake you; bind them about your neck, write them upon the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

A dear friend told me about a man he did business with years ago. For all practical purposes, they were what you’d call “business friendly.”

The man was in custodial service and decided to expand his company. So he bought a couple of vans, doubled up on his machinery, and increased his employees.

He wasn’t a newcomer to the industry and he provided a good service, so with the “growth modifications,” business took off.

But somehow, in the area of bookkeeping, he failed to pay the proper amount of worker’s compensation for three years!

Because business was so good, he hired an accountant to make sure everything was on the up and up…and that’s when he got the news.

It rocked him. All of a sudden, the strides he’d been making looked an awful lot like a prison cell. He could see no way to pay the money back and stay in business.

To make a very long story short, with the help of his accountant, a good legal defense, and prayer, “grace” was extended by the government, fines were reduced considerably, and incriminating charges dismissed. Life was good.

However, when my dear friend related this story to me, he dropped a bomb that I was not expecting. You see, the businessman who experienced grace for his mistake and was forgiven this huge debt, sued my friend for just $150 worth of charges that he accidentally overlooked on his office cleaning bill he pays once a year. The businessman had raised his rates after a few years and my buddy just wrote the check habitually for the normal amount without reading the bill.

But instead of calling and extending mercy for what was obviously an oversight by my friend (his loyal customer), he let the grace he’d been given “get away.”

As I listened, I initially sided with my friend, yet in an instant, I realized I was that guy! God only knows how many times I had been shown mercy in the midst of a mistake and still turned right around and was unwilling to “let it go” when I was wronged.

Wow! My prayer today is a binding one. Yes, I want to walk in truth. And yes, I want to call black, black, and white, white. But I desperately need to be able to recognize when to “be okay with the grey” because many times in life “grey” will play a part.