Equipping the body of Believers
The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.
If there is debt, there is slavery. In this three part article. I aim to provide some examples of what can be done to make a start towards setting the captives free.
Are you a minister of the Word or a church leader?
John 10:10 tells us that ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…’ But in the latter part of that verse Jesus said, ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ He came to set the captives free (Isa. 61:1) and we are commanded as followers to ‘Love one another’ (1 John 3:23). So how can we be part of the solution in helping our brothers and sisters to escape the jaws of debt?
Money is one of the most talked about topics in the Bible, yet we rarely address it in our places of fellowship. We ask for financial support for charitable causes, some church groups taking an offering while others collect the tithes and offerings on a weekly basis according to 1 Cor. 16:2. There are regular trips, conferences, seminars, conventions and other social activities all requiring extra funds. Nevertheless, we seem to have little or no teaching on what the Bible says about managing our finances.
Many of our brothers and sisters are drowning in a sea of debt. Some are seeking refuge from the cold world of loan sharks, Pawn shops, ever increasing interest rates and bank charges as well as damaged relationships from being unable to keep their promise of repayment. Not many of them know where to turn and very few are given the help needed.
Debt is crippling spiritual growth and damaging the structure of our families. Church communities should commit to praying for this issue, seeking direction on how to introduce financial education into the life of the church. Then act upon the inspiration received from reading God’s Word, implementing programmes that will help individuals escape the debt trap.
If the church prioritises teaching on the topic of money, the body will be equipped to become good stewards of their finances. By being good stewards of our finances, our homes will become healthier environments for our children to grow up in and more people will begin to climb their way out of debt. We will also be in a better position to live within our means, save and give generously from a willing heart and not under duress.
Church communities should get guidance on how to assist those who are in need of financial education. This could be an annual session or a more regular part of the life of the church.
Proverbs 17:16 says, “Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it?” To describe someone as a fool is simply saying they lack knowledge/wisdom. Therefore, the lack of knowledge/wisdom is what led many of us into a debt trap. And it stands to reason that only by gaining knowledge/wisdom will we be able to escape that cycle of insanity.
This is why I believe churches have a responsibility to teach financial literacy, assist members with debt elimination and money management through workshops, seminars etc. and sharing of wisdom from those who have once travelled that path.
Without teaching, a person has no knowledge or understanding of the Word and its purpose in their life. If after being taught he/she cares not to implement those lessons, then such an individual will remain in their folly at their own detriment. However, the church would have done its part in teaching biblical principles on managing one’s finances and helping those individuals take the necessary steps to financial health.
The church does have a responsibility to educate, motivate and inspire the spiritual growth of its members. Members will then teach their children and younger generations. Homes will be transformed and relationships restored. Families will thrive. So ‘Go teach!’ That’s what we were commissioned to do as part of ‘The Great Commission’ (Matthew 28:16-20).
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Continues in part 2 ~ Educating the next generation