Today is something that is called "Cyber Monday". The term made it's debut in 2008 as merchants tried to attract customers to buy on-line the Monday after Thanksgiving. It has now become the busiest day for on-line purchases with the total being over $1.2 billion. That's a lot of money being spent on one day. One of the greatest dangers to this trend is the use of credit cards. To purchase items on-line, the user must have a credit card for these purchases. Even a cursory look at American spending habits shows that we have a serious credit card problem in this country. The average American household owes over $8,500 in credit card debt. This debt can't be paid off at the end of the month, which means the huge APRs affect finances. 65% of all Americans have so much credit that they only make the minimum payment every month. This means we are squandering money by spending huge amounts of it on interest.
Proverbs 22:7 says, "The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is the slave to the lender". A while back, we heard about the 1% and how much wealth they have. The media has treated the rich as evil, when really, the poor have made them wealthy. Every time we pay interest on a credit card, we just helped make the rich richer. Many Americans are upset over the wealth of the 1%, but those same folks who are upset are making it possible for the rich to be rich. Credit card debt is the easiest way to make sure the 1% have more money. If we really want equity, we should stop using credit cards unless we can pay off the balance at the end of each month. As long as we owe, we become a slave to the one we owe. We have limited God's movement in our lives because we have no freedom. We can't tithe because we are stretched so thin financially with all of our bills and debt. We aren't able to go on mission trips because we can't afford time off from work. Or we just chuck it all and walk away from our debts by claiming bankruptcy. None of these options are pleasing to God.
Why do we have debt? We want things we can't afford. We want things for our children we can't afford. Instead of driving a used car, we have to have a new car. We have to have the latest phone. We have to have to newest computer. We have to have the latest sneakers. The list goes on and on. The bottom line: We aren't satisfied with what God has already given us. Rather than be grateful for what we already have, we buy more things to go into an already-packed full closet. We look at how much our monthly payment will be rather than praying and asking God if this is necessary. Then we pass it on to the next generation as our children learn to go into debt watching us go into debt. They think it is normal to have several maxed our credit cards, a house payment, a car payment, a student loan, etc.
As followers of Christ, we need to end this madness in our lives. The financial debt we have incurred need to be paid off and no new debt needs to be taken. We need to honestly look at our lives and determine "need" versus "want". December is a perfect time to look at this because advertisers are working overtime to make sure we know what we need and how easy it will be to get it. Just whip out the Master Card and you can have it today. This is a perfect time for us to teach our children the discipline of paying as you go. Maybe we need to tell our children and grandchildren that we just can't afford more stuff. Maybe there is more we can "do" this Christmas rather than "buy" this Christmas.
There is only one debt that is good: The debt we owe to God for offering Jesus as the sacrifice for our sin. This is a debt of love which allows us to live a life of worship. This debt causes us to be thankful and generous because God has been so generous to us. The advent of Jesus is the ultimate debt payment: Jesus paid the debt for our sin that we couldn't afford. Sin will cost us our souls, but Jesus redeemed that debt. Have you trusted Jesus with your debt of sin? It changes our entire outlook on life.
So don't let Cyber Monday rule your day. Let the love of God, which dwells in your richly, rule your life and advent!