New Year…Fresh Start-Get Out of Debt

So pay everyone what you owe them. Pay the taxes you owe, pay the duties you are charged, give respect to those you should respect, and honor those you should honor. Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law (Romans 13:7-8, Common English Bible).

If I were to make New Year’s Resolutions, this one would need to be at the top of my list. I haven’t done well with this in my life. I also know that I am not alone.

It is hard these days to think of life without debt. When we hear over and over again about a national debt over 19 trillion dollars (that is 19 with 12 zeros behind it). It makes it seem like our little bit of debt, for most of us in the thousands is nothing.

It is also difficult to imagine being totally out of debt. Cindy and I don’t have a great deal of credit card debt. That does not mean we are debt free. I have a house note and student loans. For most of us it is difficult to imagine owning a home and having no debt. At the cost of higher education it is equally difficult to imagine getting ourselves and/or our children through school without debt.

I am fortunate. I own two cars. They are both paid for so I have no car debt. But, when we are looking at new car prices that begin at around $13,000 for a bare bones sub compact, few of us have that kind of money in the bank to go out and pay cash.

Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey teaches to live debt free, or at least close to it. Ramsey says you shouldn’t buy new cars and to pay cash for what you can afford and then make payments to yourself so you will have available cash the next time you need to buy a car.

He goes on to say that the only thing when should go into debt for is a home. Then you have half the money to put down and finance the remainder for 10 years and we should pay it off even more quickly if possible.

It is a good idea. Living it out is a good deal more difficult. I wouldn’t have a home, despite a sizable down payment, if it weren’t for debts. While I don’t have a car note right now, it doesn’t mean I have always been without one. I could go on but I think you get the idea.

Some might say the way to get out of debt is just to give up and not pay any more. Let the companies write it off. Just looking at the two verses above, I don’t think God would say that. Paul reminds us that a part of holy living is to pay everyone what we owe them. Getting out of debt means paying off those who have loaned us money, regardless of the purpose of the loan.

Ramsey also has some useful ideas for paying off our debts. He calls it the debt snowball. Get all your debts together. Find the one you owe the least on and pay everything you can afford to pay and get that one paid off while paying the minimums on the remaining bills. Once that first one is paid off, you take all the money you were paying on that debt and add it to the minimum for the next debt you owe and work to pay it off. Continue in that manner until all your creditors are paid in full.

It sounds like a good idea to me but there is no question I am no expert. I also know, when it comes to this one, I am not a very good example. Still, for many of us getting out of debt is both a desire and a difficult action to live out.

It is something worth living out. I do believe, to be debt free is an element of faithful discipleship. When we are debt free, we are in a position to be more generous. More on that tomorrow?

Are you debt free? Have you always been debt free? Do you have a workable plan the rest of us might benefit from your experience?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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