May 9, 2011

The Thief

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy"

Boy do I know that thief. Well, more accurately, I know several thieves, but as we continue our 50 Days of Stewardship as a People of the Resurrection, my thoughts this week are aimed at debt. For so many of us, the main thief, the one who does the most damage, is debt. And it steals. kills. and destroys.

No doubt about it.

How many churches are slaves to the debt service built when cotton was high and he boll weevil was nowhere to be seen? How many families are torn apart by the over-availability of easy credit cards? How many of our recent ails are the result of debt?

Credit convinces us that while today resources are scarce, someday they won't be and therefore we should buy now and pay later. As most of us have come to realize, however, that someday never comes. When we subscribe to a philosophy (or a theology) of scarcity, that lens becomes a defining factor in our lives. I don't have enough, so I'll buy on credit. I might not have enough, so I'll keep a little extra. My neighbor doesn't have enough, so I'll sell at a handsome markup.

Scarcity, however, is a lie. Our wants have replaced our needs, and the thief is all too willing to help us fill the void. The thief offers us more and more and more, until he takes it all away.

Jesus offers a different way, but that, dear reader, is the stuff of another post.

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