On the one hand, it is our unalterable duty to pay off any debts we have. As Christians, we are to “let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another” (Romans 13:8). We are called wicked if we borrow and do not repay (Ps. 37:21). We are also called to be great witnesses in our dealings with the world and not paying off our debts makes us very poor witnesses to our creditors and others around us. So how can we choose to give and ignore our debts?
On the other hand, it was not God’s choice or will that you went into debt so why should He get the short end of the stick? We know that giving to the Kingdom is one of the most important factors of our faith. We know that God owns everything (Psalm 24:1) and that giving some of what He’s entrusted to us is a central theme of the Bible (Deut. 15:10, 1 Tim 6:17, Proverbs 21:26, Luke 6:38, etc) so how can we stop giving?
To Give or Not to Give
So how do we decide who takes precedence? God or our creditors? The answer is both.
I’ve heard the argument many times: “But if I could pay off my debt, I could give so much more!” It sounds like a noble thought, but 9 times out of 10, this is a rationalization to stop giving and once the believer is debt free, their generosity muscles have atrophied so much that they’re useless. Giving is a muscle that is strengthened through use, so we should continue to give, even if the amount is small.
Remember that giving is more about securing the giver than God needing our money. The amount we give is not as important as the spirit we have when we give. In order to be spiritually valuable, giving must be done sacrificially and with a spirit of joy.
Our giving should impinge on us and pinch us in just the right spot to keep us on our toes.C.S. Lewis said, “I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our commitment to giving excludes them.”
I Can’t Do It!
Even if you are unable to meet your basic necessities such as food, water, and shelter, continue to give as you can. God promises to take care of you and will bless your faithfulness (Luke 21:1-4, Proverbs 11:25, 22:9, 28:27 ). If this is the case, your church should be helping you and using church offerings to help support you until you’re back on your feet.
Call your creditors and tell them you can pay “x” amount per month on your debt, (even if it’s only $5) and do that faithfully. Continue to give (even if it’s only $5) and do that willingly and joyfully.
What do you think? Do you or would you continue to give while paying off debt?