Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Borrower is Slave to the Lender

"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 $9 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?

Top picture is from the Culture of Life blog. The second is from Blognetnews.com. The Thirds is from The Dip Shtick, Fragments from a Cluttered Mind.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Claybrook74 said...

Nice job. This is a very thorough and articulate post. Thank you for sharing your knowledge! ~Jerry

mtndjd said...

You have struck a cord. It is interesting to me that Jesus (with the understanding that his parable has to do more with the spiritual) is so hard on the servant that buries his talent, taking from him what he has and giving it to the one who invested. Just taking the parable at face value, it seems to me that Jesus may consider borrowing to consume non-essential material things even worse. How we think of money is extremely important.

Anonymous said...


What would Jesus buy? Preacher leads anti-shopping church in war on consumerism

Jerome Wiencek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerome Wiencek said...

Your words are very interesting and defintely scratch he surface to something more; if you believe. Its a funny correalation that some believe, MAMMON, to be the 'anti-christ' or son of the Devil, and Guardian to the gates of Hell. Some of the Satanist church sects believe that Mammon is the "will-be-destructor" of mankind. Arguably, what debt could be looked at after it consumes you and becomes uncontrollable. Its a disease--- But Hey, its The American Way!!!

SierraSojourner said...

Yes, this is just scratching the surface of what the Bible says about debt. Thanks for the comments. I think personal debt has become a sort of disease for many Americans...

Anonymous said...

I like how C.S. Lewis put it in his poems when he writes: "All things (e.g. a camel's journey through A needle's eye) are possible, it's true. But picture how the camel feels, squeezed out In one long bloody thread from tail to snout." May we all through "blood, sweat and tears" abandon our money along with our fears! Cleaning out the closets of my excess and repenting of the "hoarding" mentality! Thank you for your insights, A Pastor's Wife from Bothell, Washington

SierraSojourner said...

Good point about how the camel feels! Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Interesting topic. Money definetly frees people up to do the things that are stored in their hearts. Whether these things be good or bad. In Christianity having money has become like the second unpardonable sin! How do we serve the god of mammon? Are all the rich people serving mammon? And all the poor people are serving Christ because somehow their poverty makes them exempt from greed. Mammon is the god of compound interest. Depending on which side of the interest you are on is going to determine poverty or riches. Jesus said to owe no man anything but love. Serving the lender controls your life, time, money, dreams, passions and you will spend your whole life trying to get free of the slavery. How does one get this far into financial slavery? Foolish decisions, envy, greed, pride, lust, desire for more, unthankfulness, laziness, lack of patience and self control. How then can we serve Jesus with all that we have when we are exhausted each day from serving debt/ mammon?

SierraSojourner said...

Those are some great points...thanks for commenting!

Satyajit Das said...

I think what Jesus said has less to do with Money itself. It is more about the means people employ to get rich- and then its a comment on how difficult it is to shed off or share the riches one has hoarded to retain one's essential nature- like the camel or the elephant finds itdifficult to manoeuvre its way through the gates of jerusalem. When people attain riches they are usually arrogant and their attitude resembles the tall camel or the hefty elephant amongst men. They become ungainly and portentous unlike the simple man (who has nothing much to lose)- to follow the path of enlightenment- to follow the path of the preacher.

Anonymous said...

Atta girl. Nice article. It gave me a little more to think about. Hope your represented at the Occupy (fill in your town here)rallies.