I was walking through a local store the day after Halloween. I was stunned to hear Christmas music playing softly in the background. Apparently, it was Andy Williams crooning those cheerful words, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
Beyond wondering what happened to Thanksgiving exactly (I guess it’s a holiday that just doesn’t have a great theme song?), I wondered why in the world a business would be so eager to celebrate Christmas.
But of course you and I already know why they get so excited, because it’s the time of year to shower others (and often ourselves) with the gifts we’ve always wanted. There is certainly nothing inherently wrong with giving awesome gifts. In fact, Jesus Himself said it’s better to give than receive, but as a pastor and friend, I have seen far too many people get themselves into all kinds of financial trouble trying to “bless” someone that they love.
Yet advertisers harken to us: “Every kiss begins with Kay!” and show us families portrayed as far happier than our own living lifestyles that are just out of our reach… if only we had a little more.
Like a few other churches in Highland, we offer a course called “Financial Peace University,” where families work together to reclaim their financial lives. In that course work, Dave Ramsey famously says that if you were to read one chapter of Proverbs every day of the month for a few months you could earn a master’s degree in finance.
I bring all this up because one of those truths is found in Proverbs 22:7, which says in part, “the borrower is slave to the lender.”
As we prepare to delve into another season of giving and celebrating, maybe this is a great time for us to stop and make a plan, to take stock in what is truly valuable in our lives, and find ways to bless others around us that won’t leave us praying for our freedom come January.
Amazed by the riches of Christ,
Pastor Bill Dempsey
Family Bible Church