When It’s Real

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Today my wife learned that her government job would be deemed “non-essential” if the government can’t get their acts together before the weekend. That means she would be indefinitely laid off without pay. What was her reaction? “Good, I can get some things done with the downtime.” It’s usually in situations like these when the sagacity of Life Without Loans makes a tangible difference in our lives. To hear people discuss how they were going to pay the bills, fend off lenders, and make it through a possible furlough, seemed almost like watching a movie. You understand the seriousness of the situation that the people are in, but you don’t have the same worry, doubt and fear because you know that their lives is not your reality.

While it may seem insensitive to use such a time as this for a teaching point, it’s in times like these that people perk up to the truth. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” People don’t see the truth of that statement until hard times come. In times of plenty, I hear people telling me how silly it is to pay cash for cars, college, and cottages. They tell me it’s impossible to live without loans, and how much further they would be if they used “leverage.” But in times like these, the wisdom of God makes all other advice seem as foolish and risky as it really is. Sure, we don’t live in a half million dollar house, we don’t drive the fanciest cars, or wear the finest rags. However, we could do so if we lived like most Americans with similar household incomes. Instead we choose to live within our means. That means, if we don’t have cash, we don’t have. Simple and plain. We store up in times of plenty, so we can have in times of famine. We learned that from a guy named Joseph. He used that strategy to lead a government into prosperity through seven years of famine. But Joseph had the privilege of knowing which years would be plentiful and which would be lean. However, I haven’t seen the future. I didn’t see a government furlough coming, and I have no idea of how long it may last if it does come. But what I have seen is that when people borrow money, and they depend on weekly or monthly paychecks to keep their lifestyle afloat, the ship often sinks when an emergency strikes. Seldom can an American family make it through a month without a paycheck. In one of the richest societies in history, most people are two paychecks away from bankruptcy. The $900 dollar mortgage payment, the two $400 car notes, the $200 dollar student loan payment, and the $200 dollar credit card payment quickly eat away at a $3,000 take home pay. And you haven’t even eaten, put on clothes, or kept the lights on! It’s already tight with your “faithful” paycheck from your “secure government job,” but how is it going to look without it?

I want my beloved wife to have the time off she desires to take care of some things away from the office. However, there is a part of me that wants to see the government get their acts together and pass a budget so the children of the over-leveraged family won’t have to suffer the consequences of conventional American wisdom. I also have a part of me that wants people to go without for a minute so America can get a much needed wake-up call to financial responsibility.

As you can see, I have mixed emotions on the issue. And that’s probably because, for me and my house, it’s business as usual. No matter what happens, we trust God to supply today’s needs. And if we wake tomorrow, we do it again.

Peace & Thanks,
Jamel Black
Personal Finance Coach

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