“I pay my Visa with my MasterCard.”
“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” Proverbs 22:7.
“Paper or plastic?” is not reserved for grocery bags any more. Most of the time it is, “Debit or credit?”
A little while ago, I got rid of a MasterCard with a spending limit of $50,000. Just today, I received another offer from Visa. This was an “exclusive” pre-approved offer. I had been pre-approved, meaning they want to bind me with ‘new ropes’ without me even asking for it. They pre-approved me for a line of credit up to $10,000 with no annual fee.
Now this is a patriotic card – the card is designed with a waving American flag [Visa is just down in the corner]. They will give me 0% interest – no interest for six months! They want me to transfer all of my other credit card debts over to this new card. They tell me I can save “hundreds of dollars in finance charges!”
Now the bad news: if I am late with my payment, the fee is $39 – if I owe $200 or more. If I miss a payment, the penalty is a new interest rate of “28.99% or up to the Prime Rate plus 24.24%, whichever is greater.”
This is ‘plastic bondage’ and many young families now are in slavery.
“No man can serve two masters … Ye cannot serve God and mammon [money]” Matthew 6:26.
Most of us do not have a lot of cash in our pockets – that is because we have become a nation of credit cards. The average American has 10 credit cards. Plastic has replaced cash. Cash is the $1 dollar bill we put in the offering plate, not to buy merchandise with. God promised to supply our needs – our wants we put on our credit card.
“America, who used to value hard work and thrift, now is a debtor nation. We prefer short-term pleasure to hard work and spending over saving. The average credit card debt jumped in the decade between 1980-1990 from $395-$2,350. This has come at great cost. Interest rates on credit card debt climbed from 1.4% to 18.3% [1981-2000]. At the same time, family finance charges jumped sharply from $885 to $3753 per year. [Credit Card Nation by Robert D. Manning]
I know a family who signed a mortgage for a one-third equity in their parent’s home – signed by the parents – to help their parents out and to build up some credit. When they were short of funds, they simply charged it on their credit cards. When they could not pay the mortgage payment, they simply charged it on their credit cards. When their cards were maxed out, they got some more cards.
Soon the creditors were at the door – so they simply took out bankruptcy – only, their parent’s names were on the note and the parents almost lost the family home. These parents had to assume the mortgage payments once again. The parents ended up selling their home to get from under the debt. Family relationships were shattered because a couple got into plastic bondage and could not manage their money.
Christian households are not immune to this trend. Household debt brings bondage. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are sapping spirituality. We have bought into the thinking of this world – “Instant gratification – enjoy now – why wait?” Enjoy pleasure now (short term) and pay for it later. Eat, drink and be merry! Why withhold any pleasure that we desire?
We see no connection between cost and payment. Many families are spending more each year than is coming in. Only the government can live this way – for a season. When consumption is greater than production, we all are in trouble.
General Electric has found that financing debt is more profitable than the making of goods. GE Credit Division is more lucrative than the G. E. Manufacturing Division. Even with all the bankruptcies, they are still making money.
The Credit Card Masters are targeting college students and young families. They do not check to see if they have the ability to pay, but rather encourage them to get in debt and then later they put the squeeze on them. They will get their money, even if it causes stress, divorce and spiritual leanness of the soul.
Christian friend – do not allow yourself to be bound by the banks. Credit cards should be used for emergencies only and then paid off every month. If you cannot pay off the total on your credit cards every month, you are spending more than you are taking in. Cut those cards up, learn to pay with cash and live in the promised land of God’s financial freedom.
To get out of debt, pay off the card with the smallest total first, then the next until you are out of bondage.
The last few years I have enjoyed living debt-free, won’t you join me?
“Let my people go, that they may serve me.” Exodus 8:1b.