Let’s talk about money and accountability for how it is used. Now, that may sound rather mundane, but we do have a money and accountability problem in this nation. Why is this important?
Jesus spoke about the connection in Luke 16 when offering a parable about someone who was dishonest as a money manager. It ends with these pointed words to the rest of us:
Whoever is faithful with very little will also be faithful with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. If, then, you have not been faithful with worldly wealth, who will entrust you with true riches? And if you have not been faithful with the belongings of another, who will give you belongings of your own?
No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
I’ve had to learn that lesson in my life, and I hope I’ve learned it well enough not to repeat certain mistakes. One of the key aspects of that lesson has been to take responsibility for my debts. As someone who went through all the levels of higher education, right up to the doctorate, I decided I needed some help financially. Therefore, I did what most others do—I took out student loans.
From what I’ve read, it seems that of all the loans given by banks, the one least often paid back is a student loan. One way or another, those who voluntarily chose to take out the loans have figured out how to renege on their responsibility for meeting their payment obligations. There is, unfortunately, an entitlement attitude in far too many “students,” an attitude promoted by the culture that says you can’t succeed without a college diploma.
I’ll set aside for now the value of many of those diplomas and just concentrate on the attitude. Significantly, we now have Democrats running for president who feed that mentality to the uttermost: the government, they proclaim, should cover all of those students’ debts.
But where does the government get its money? Ah yes, that would be from the taxpayers (or further government debt—more on that in a moment). That’s hardly the Biblical solution to debt. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?
I know. That’s sounds so harsh, right? No, it’s simply called personal responsibility. I paid back my loans because it was the right thing to do. Another word for that is “integrity.” Others have done the same. Now we’re supposed to pick up the tab for those who don’t wish to do so? Pay twice?
That’s called “loss of integrity.”
Keep in mind, though, that the federal government has been on this trajectory for quite some time now.
The Obama years saw an unprecedented ballooning of the national debt. Republicans decried it (as they should have) and talked incessantly about the dire consequences. Then came Donald Trump, and the ballooning debt has maintained the Obama trajectory. From what I’ve read, it actually seems to have increased even more quickly than under Obama. And what do I hear from Republicans now? Don’t worry about it, we’re told. It’s not a big problem.
Well, yes it is, especially for those will come after us.
It is immoral to place our children and grandchildren in the national debt cage. They will be paying for our irresponsibility.
One of the things I most admire about the Founders of this nation is the concern they often expressed for posterity. It shows up constantly in their writings, and even makes an appearance in the preamble to the Constitution.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
They didn’t write that Constitution for themselves only—they were looking ahead to later generations of Americans. We seem to have lost that perspective.
Jesus’s words to the people of His day still have application today:
Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you?”
We need to do two things: take personal and national responsibility for what we owe; plead for His mercy on this faithless and twisted generation. He still might hear from heaven and heal our land.