AN AMAZING FACT: Sears makes more money today off credit interest than selling merchandise. But back in 1910, its own catalog stated, “Buying on credit is folly.”
Likewise, the founder of J.C. Penney hated debt, yet today the store makes millions off their credit cards. Even Henry Ford didn’t offer financing for the first 10 years of the Ford Motor Company, because he felt credit was a lazy man’s way of making purchases. Of course, the United States has a serious problem with credit and credit cards. Five billion credit card solicitations are mailed out each year nationwide, and about 0.4 percent of these offers are accepted.
Eighty percent of American households have at least one credit card, and the average number of cards held by most people is seven! To put the dollars in perspective, the average household credit card debt is about $9,300, and most people pay about 16 percent on all outstanding balances each month. The total credit card debt in the United States is about $665 billion on bank credit cards and about $105 billion on store and gas credit cards. Today’s proverb is obviously one that more of us need to hear.
Whenever someone loans a person money, it puts the relationship into a ruler-servant status. It really doesn’t matter if it is your local bank or your best friend. Loaning people money changes the dynamics of how you view each other. Most of the time when we make a loan to a family member or friend, we think we are being kind and helpful, but in the long run it often unravels and hurts the relationship. It’s better to not lend and avoid the long-term stress.
The deeper issue is that many people are controlled by their materialism and instant gratification, not wisdom. We want things right now; we can’t wait. But learning to earn and pay for something by the sweat of your brow teaches patience and gives you satisfaction in your efforts. You are not a slave to anyone and free to live and serve the Lord without strings attached to your income. You’ll be able to make more and give more to His cause!
Don’t live like 90 percent of the people in our country who purchase things they cannot afford and then forever pay absurd and never-ending interest. Follow the wisdom of Solomon. Avoid debt as if it were the plague and live with the peace God intended you to have in your life.
Additional reading: Proverbs 22:1–16
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7