Monday, June 4, 2012

Proverbs 22:7 Solomon, Shakespeare and Ben Franklin

 It's always interesting to me to see how some Biblical concepts are handed down through the years. In this verse, Solomon is giving advice to his son, and we can listen in and learn.
 Proverbs 22:7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
 Some years later, Shakespeare wrote these words in Hamlet --- again, it's a father giving wise words to his son:
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be."   Polonius, in Hamlet
Then further along the timeline of this world, we see a sage in Philadelphia, glasses perched on his nose, writing in Poor Richard's Almanac:
"Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor."
Then we come to the Depression era, where my grandma learned this:
 "Use it up, wear it out,
Make it do, or do without."
Is Solomon (and thus the Holy Spirit) telling us it's absolutely, positively wrong to borrow? That to go into debt is sinful?  I may get some argument here, but I don't think that is the case.

I believe that the caution here is to be wise when you do borrow . . . there are not many people in this world that can pay cash for a home. Or walk in and buy a set of wheels with the cash in their pocket (or their bank account, for that matter.)  There are some times that we simply have to do the best we can. I think that being a wise steward of the resources that God has given us, means to examine fine print, to shop for rates, and to make certain that the purchase is something we actually need, not just something that caught our eye and our imagination.

Being a wise steward also will mean that we will make an extra payment when we can, and we will budget wisely. That we'll not be averse to taking a second job, or working at tasks that we may not be in love with. (Yep, I've done that before.) 
There are many references in the Scriptures that condemn usury, or heavy-handed lending practices.  Even the Mosaic law set up some guidelines on borrowing, lending, hiring workers and keeping and releasing slaves.  
Should we lend to others who are in dire straits? As Christians, I believe that is one reason why we are sometimes blessed with extra -- so that we can be blessed by the act of giving to others. 
Check out Deuteronomy 28:12:
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.
God promised Israel that they would experience abundance, and then explained the reason for it.  While we are being careful not to be "bitten" by the loan "sharks" in this present day, perhaps we can learn from these verses and give freely to those in need.


Belinda said...

Very wise words indeed. In this day and age, there are so many who have gone over they heads into debt simply because they "want"...not need. I believe many of the home foreclosures are due to this type of borrowing. My husband and I have always tried to pay off our loans early if possible. We've always tried to stay within our budget for a home and car. It's not easy when you really want flashy and big, but I've learned to accept it. Much better than having a huge house and flashy car and worrying about how you will make the payment this month!!

Hillbilly Tonya said...

I've never been much of a 'borrower' either. I was just thrilled that we were able to purchase our car one year and pay it off the next.

We are in a pickle right now due to student loans. My husband just is so angry at himself for getting them.

Live and learn. We've done both :)