Unexpected situations are a time when you reach out to friends and neighbors to borrow the things you need to help you get through…
A few years ago, during hurricane season, we had to borrow power from a neighbor’s generator through a carefully crafted system of extension cords and power strips.
Having lived in South Florida for the past 25 years, I know—as June 1 is the start of the Atlantic hurricane season every year—there will always be something you’re never fully prepared for.
The widow in 2 Kings was also faced with an unexpected situation she wasn’t prepared for. After her husband died, she found herself unable to pay his creditors.
With the possibility of losing her sons to slavery if the debt went unpaid, she cried out to the prophet Elisha for help. He advised her to borrow jars from her neighbors, then go back to her house and begin filling them with the little oil she had left.
Through her faith and the generosity of her neighbors, she was miraculously able to fill enough jars to pay off the debt and still have some left over for her and her sons to live off of. Praise God!
However, in today’s culture, borrowing isn’t usually a quick visit to your neighbor for a helping hand in a crisis or for an oil jar. Nowadays, we borrow more to satisfy a want than to take care of a need.
We want a bigger house, so we go to the bank and take out a mortgage on a house we really can’t afford. We want a new car, so we finance monthly payments that are way over our budget. We want a prestigious name on our college diploma, so we take out student loans and commit ourselves to a lifetime of debt.
Whether it’s called a mortgage, finance plan or a loan, it is still borrowing and it is still a debt until it is repaid.
Our society has convinced us that borrowing money is easy and necessary. But is it wise?
Proverbs 22:7 offers a stark warning about this potential trap: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave to the lender.”
Is the house, the car or the college degree worth a lifetime of debt? Is it worth becoming a slave to one decision or one purchase? I really don’t believe that is the life God desires for us!
So how do we live in a world where, realistically, we may need to borrow money at some point?
- Be very open and honest about our resources.
Take a hard look at your actual financial standing. Not what our friend or neighbor has. Not where we might be someday. Not what we will have after that promotion or year-end bonus. Not what society tells us we deserve.
God has given each of us resources to steward to the best of OUR abilities, not someone else’s. If we don’t start from a place of truth, we’ve failed before we’ve even started.
- Find good counsel.
Knowing what and whose advice to seek and trust can bring accountability into our financial decisions. Reading scripture and getting advice from godly people in our life is always a great way to ensure that we are making wise financial choices.
- Find contentment with the life and resources you have been blessed with.
Be happy and grateful where you are. This might seem almost too simple, but the truth is that there will always be someone who has a bigger house, a fancier car and more designer clothes.
We can get so caught up in the false competition of this world, that we are oblivious to the amazing provisions that God is giving each of us daily.
Matthew 6:33 puts it simply for us: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
I kindly ask you to keep everyone in the southeastern United States in your prayers, as we enter the 2023 hurricane season. And for those of you who live in South Florida, you know whom to contact if you ever need to borrow a ladder.
Meredith is an active member of Christ Journey Church in Coral Gables, Fla., where she now works after spending several years as a stay-at-home mom to her two children, Ella and Hans. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s in history and a minor in Spanish. Meredith loves serving women in her community. She is the advisor for her sorority at the University of Miami and has faithfully led a weekly women’s Bible study since 2005. She and her husband, Hans, live in Miami, Fla.