#2 Make a debt-free plan {52 bites}

by Kari on April 20, 2012

This week I wrote the Sacred Mundane chapters on money. Yes, chapters. I thought there’d only be one, but it became quickly apparent that Jesus has plenty to say on this topic so I should too. And since our hearts go wherever our money is, and since giving goes straight to the jugular of greed, this topic is critical to embracing the truly sacred mundane life. If anything matters, money matters.

If our hearts go where our money is, I’d rather not someone else own the deed to my heart. Not that debt is selling our souls to the devil, but is it any wonder that our nation’s spiritual condition and financial condition are related? We are drowning in debt and spiritually bankrupt all at the same time. Tsh Oxenreider begins this chapter like this:

It’s about as straightforward as you can get—if you’re in debt to someone else, you’re in bondage. And that bondage keeps you from living the life you want, the one that feels right in your own skin. Until you’re debt-free, you just can’t live as simply as you want.

So true. Even though I don’t love renting, there is something freeing about knowing we owe no one anything. Perhaps we will have a mortgage again someday, but something I read by Larry Burkett last year really stood out to me. He explained that although debt isn’t recommended in scripture, it isn’t absolutely prohibited.  In the Old Testament, provision was made to release people from debt every seven years. Then, of course, after seven sevens, they enjoyed the year of Jubilee. But even just after seven years, debts were cancelled. In other words, accruing debt was a legitimate method used to help those in need, but …

… it wasn’t meant to last long.

It was intended as temporary help, not as a permanent state.

Today, the “normal” mortgage length is 30 years. THIRTY years. That’s almost one’s entire adult, working life-time. If a child grows up in a 30-year mortgage family, then gets a 30-year mortgage himself, that means that almost his entire life is spent paying off debt.  I don’t know…

Please hear my heart: Not throwing mortgage stones. Not throwing debt stones. The purpose of this post isn’t to make you feel bad about debt. I understand it is often unavoidable, and some of you (you know who you are) have heard me cheering for you from the sidelines as you work hard to pay off that debt.

My heart here is to look at our “norms” with new eyes. For us, one of our goals, Lord willing, is to someday purchase a home that we can pay off in seven years or less. (OR save up and buy one cash.) Yes, that gives us a very, very low price range. Oh well.

The purpose of this Bite is that you would make a Debt-Free Plan. Note that it isn’t that you’ll be debt free. The idea is that you work toward it. That might mean, like some people we know, moving in with your friends part-time. :) That might mean selling your house. That might mean following Dave Ramsey’s Financial Steps, using the snowball effect to pay off debt. Do whatever it takes today to move toward life debt-free.  Where to start? Here are some ideas:

We’ll be talking about more of these steps in future Bites, for now, let’s think about debt, why we have it, and how we can get out of it. Please know I’m cheering you on from the sidelines! Thanks for reading.