"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender." (Proverbs 22:7)
The above verse seems so pertinent to current events in the U.S economy and the average American consumer right now. Here are some thoughts:
Proverbs 22:7 is direct and self explanatory. Whether we are living in 8th century B.C. Judea or in modern America, the lender will most likely charge interest or demand some sort of compensation. If we borrow something, we are now subject to the will of the lender and are forced to comply with their terms.
Every time we pay interest, we are WORKING for the lender - in effect becoming their slave. We must work just to support that debt. Not only has the lender become the master in this regard, he/she is becoming wealthier at the same time.
This is one important way that the rich become richer, and the poor become poorer. (See Matthew 25:29 - "For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.")
The "rich" put money to work for themselves in the form of lending and investments. They earn money from their loans, just as Jesus encourages in the parable of the talents. (Matthew 25:14 - 30 ) The "rich" are masters of their money, not servants to it, as it works and multiplies for them.
Those that are "poor" not only fail to make money work for them (lend/invest), but they are losing money/net-worth by paying out interest. One borrows when they want to spend more than they actually have. The price, according to Proverbs, is servitude.
The rich, who are wise with their earnings, just keep getting richer as they continually master their use of money.
On a side note:
Its interesting that the Hebrew word translated as 'borrow' is lavah which, in addition to referring to borrowing/lending, is often used throughout the Bible to mean "to cleave" or to "entwine" or "join." For example, in Genesis 29:34 Leah desires Jacob to be "joined" with her - as an intimate lover. Hmmm...
Do we want to be joined with the lender?! Being cleaved to or entwined is the opposite of being independent. We lose our freedom at the moment we allow debt to make us the servant.
(By the way, I am not saying that all debt is bad...just trying to make observations based on Proverbs)
SO, what does this mean for Americans?
Personal spending on credit is at record levels. The average American household, has $6,000 to $15,000 in credit card debt alone (according to various statistics - who knows which to believe?) Keep in mind that this is not including mortgage debt - only consumer spending. The banks, and their investors, are getting rich by lending us money to fulfill our consumeristic desires. Are we serving Mammon?
Have we been living beyond our means????
The United States certainly has. Today, the US total government debt is over $14 Trillion Dollars. Most of the US National Debt is foreign financed, with China holding a large percentage. Is our economy becoming a slave to foreign countries? With this much debt, the lenders have the power to affect the value of our currency/markets.
Does anyone have any further thoughts on this?
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