Every Christian is Deeply in Debt
April 29 2011 by D.E. Parkerson

Acquiring entirely too much debt is an easy thing to do in America. The experts on Madison Avenue are very skilled at convincing us that we need to buy lots of things.  We are told that it is the only way to keep up with the proverbial Jones family — and we swallow the bait — hook, line and sinker!

I saw two interesting television ads recently. In the first ad an automobile dealer said: “Need a car? No problem! Got bad credit? No problem! We’ve got what you want. Come in today, and we’ll put you behind the wheel.” It would be no problem for the dealer to put you in a car. Paying for it, however, could well be a problem for anyone who became victim of such a sales presentation.

The second television ad was that of a law firm: “If you owe more than you can pay, we can help you settle for thousands of dollars less.” Then a satisfied client said, “I owed $30,000 and this firm enabled me to pay only a fraction of what I owed.” It didn’t seem to bother him in the least that he escaped paying an honest debt.

It was a great thing for civilization when the wheel was invented. It was a sad day, however, for many people when plastic was invented — for credit cards are made out of plastic. Those who lack discipline have learned that all they have to do to have anything they want is to go into a store, pick it up, carry it to a clerk, take out a plastic credit card, hand it to the clerk, and say: “Charge it.”

I read recently the story of a door-to-door salesman who was selling vacuum cleaners. When he said to one woman, “It will cut your housework in half,” she bought two of them. She had been trained to buy anything she wanted, not what she needed.

One man said to a friend, “My wife had some plastic surgery last week.” He explained further by saying, “I took a pair of scissors and cut up her credit cards.”

It needs to be said at this point that men are as guilty as women when it comes to overusing credit cards. Incurring too much debt is a very easy thing to do for anyone who lacks discipline. Even Uncle Sam has incurred too much senseless debt. The members of Congress have discovered that it is much easier to spend other people’s money than it is to spend their own. Overspending has become an addiction.

The Bible teaches that no one should incur more monetary debt than can be reasonably paid. This is especially true of Christians. It needs to be said, however, that there is another kind of debt that Christians owe that can never be paid in full.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome: “I am obligated,” he said, “to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and to the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome” (Rom. 1:14-15). He was in debt to the Romans, not because he had borrowed anything from them, but because Christ had given him the gospel to pass along to them.” He had an obligation to discharge, a duty to perform, a debt to pay. Every Christian is a debtor, whether we acknowledge it or not. Our debt is discharged only by daily passing on to others the good news concerning Jesus Christ who took upon Himself the penalty for sin that those who believe might have eternal life.

The apostle Paul was in debt. I am in debt. If you are a Christian, you are in debt. You believe in paying your debts, don’t you? If so, don’t pull out your credit card and say, “Charge it.” The only way you can discharge this debt is by sharing the good news found in John 3:16 with someone who needs to hear it.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University (B.A.), Southeastern Seminary (M. Div. and Th.M.), and Campbell University (D.D.). He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on Sept. 30, 1996, he has served 10 North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958. He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)

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4/29/2011 8:57:00 AM by D.E. Parkerson | with 0 comments

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