Have you ever felt God calling you to something so strongly that you just can’t ignore it? Maybe adoption, a missions trip or ministry work?
Many of us can describe that tug at our hearts that just won’t go away. We feel a burden for a city, or for a people, or a cause, or an orphaned child. We hear the Holy Spirit’s familiar whisper. We want to honor God and do something about it—and that’s awesome!
But you know what’s not so awesome? When we don’t have the money to do it.
Which might make you wonder: Would God ever call you into debt so you could answer His call?
It’s a great question! And it’s one that lots of people struggle with as they’re trying to discern the path God has set before them.
Well, to answer it, you just have to know what the Bible says about debt. The short answer: nothing good.
Though the Bible never says debt or borrowing money are outright sins, it does discourage them. Proverbs 22:7 actually says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender” (NIV).
And in Romans 13:8, Paul tells the people to, “Owe no one anything except to love one another” (NKJV).
Staying out of debt puts you in a better position to give of your time, your talents and your treasure. After all, you have the margin in your bank account and in your schedule to give to others!
When was the last time you saw a broke person write a big, fat check to a charity or devote all their free time to volunteering at a food bank? Probably never! As much as they may want to, they just don’t have the cash, and they’re probably too busy trying to pay back the creditors who won’t leave them alone.
God would never put you in a position to be less generous or less able to answer His call—and going into debt does exactly that. It’s like the pre-flight safety speech on a plane: Secure your own mask first, and then secure your child’s. You can’t help your child if you’re unconscious, and you can’t bless others if you’re trying to dig your way out of your own problems!
That’s why rushing into debt to answer God’s call isn’t such a great idea. The Bible says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 NKJV).
If God wants you to pursue something, He’ll make a way for you to do it without debt.
Jumping into debt to pursue a calling isn’t an exercise in faith, either. When people say, “God will provide,” and then take out a loan, they’re saying they think God can’t provide without the help of a lender—and that’s just not true! He can meet our needs all by Himself. He’s God! We just need to learn to put our trust in Him alone.
Don’t confuse God’s call with God calling you into debt. If He’s calling you to His work, you can be sure that He’ll also provide you with the resources to do it debt-free. It might take a little more time. And it might add extra steps to the process. You might have to look around for some creative opportunities to earn the money to do His work debt-free. But if you’re patient and persistent, God will show you how.
As Proverbs 16:9 reminds us, He will direct your steps.