Summary: How can we live as radical disciples of Jesus.
September 16, 2012
A husband and wife decide they’re going to pay off their credit card debt. They owe $15,000 and believe God doesn’t want them to be in debt, so they cut up their credit cards and begin to pay off the $15,000. They will never make another purchase on that credit card. They will make a minimum monthly payment of $225, until the debt is gone. How long will it take to pay off that credit card, assuming 18% interest? One clue . . . they will pay it off! Go ahead, tell your neighbor how long it will take.
If you said 23 years and 8 months, you guessed right. You will have paid $48,692 in interest, thus paying over $63,000 for a $15,000 debt. Now do you understand why credit card companies are willing to use all that postage to send those mailings to your home every week? Let me put it to you this way, in the last quarter of 2011, Visa’s net income was $880 million. Not bad! Maybe we need to do some plastic surgery, and remove those cards.
Here’s another question — as of December 2011, how much is the average household credit card debt in the U.S.? It’s $15,956! Consider that the $15,956 doesn’t include your electric and gas, water, garbage, cable, cell phone, gas, insurance and food bills. Oh . . . did I forget to mention that the $15,956 also does not include your mortgage, rent or car payments. WOW!! That’s a lot of money folks. It means that every family in this room owes on average, $15,956. Now, obviously some of you don’t owe that much and some of you owe more.
Let me take this one step further for you . . . According to a USA Today article in September 2008, “the average American household is now buried under mortgage debt of $84,911, car and tuition loans of $14,414, and home equity loans of $10,062 — totaling, an outstanding debt of $109,387. The worst is that, according to statistics the average family will save between $392 and $2,400 this year.
Now, I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad. The purpose is to help you realize, claim and start to find solutions to the problems you may already be in. If you’re married and you’re having financial problems, you know what it’s like to argue about money.
Did you know credit cards didn’t really become popular until the late 1960's, early 1970's. In 1983, just 30 years ago, the average credit card debt was below $1,000 per household. Do you understand what that means? In the past 20 years, credit card debt in this country has gone up, 1500%. That’s an average of, are you ready, 50% per year increase in credit card debt. You know something’s got to give.
Last week we talked about being a generous giver. I loved the passage from 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 stating, “6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.”
As we seek to bring glory and honor to God, let’s look at what Paul tells Timothy; and what it means for you and I. Let’s look at 1 Timothy 6 ~
7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
19 In thiming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.