From Debt to Content: Seeing God's Blessings While Giving Extravagantly
Aug 28, 2019
As a young teacher, Deborah got her first credit card and was amazed at how she could buy something and pay for it later. It was almost too good to be true.
“One day while paying my bills, I looked at the statement and realized the amount of interest and the minimum monthly payment was the same,” Deborah remembers. “I realized I would never get it paid off if I only paid the minimum, so I decided that day to start working towards paying it off.”
It was a simple lesson, but one she needed to learn.
“Sometime after that, my car battery died and I didn’t have extra money to pay for it,” Deborah said. “I didn’t want to put it on the credit card so I paid for it with my grocery money for the month. The next day, my neighbor, who also went to my church, came over and said she had been grocery shopping for her family and also bought some stuff for me. She handed me two paper bags full of groceries! She had no idea what I had done the previous day.”
Deborah learned firsthand that being financially responsible wasn’t just about creating a better future for yourself. It was about using what you’ve been given to help the community around you. “God was so good to provide for me,” Deborah said. “Their generosity created in me a desire to be generous to others.”
After marrying Jim, they agreed to make giving a priority. “We gave so much we got audited,” Deborah recalls. “But Jim, being the nerd, and armed with literally a duffle bag full of financial documents, was able to answer all the auditor’s questions.”
God was not only teaching them to trust him, but to trust in his plan for their lives, even when it didn’t make sense.
“Pastor J.D. noted in a recent sermon that if you give, live debt free, and save, your lifestyle will be three steps behind your colleagues at work because most people don’t do those things,” Jim said. “For us, God uses that contrast in lifestyles to teach us to be content.”
Throughout the years, they’ve continued to give despite the circumstances.
“Sometimes we’re tempted to look back and question why we didn’t save more, especially when we see the power of compound interest illustrated,” Jim said. “When that happens, we simply remind ourselves that we did what we believed God wanted us to do at that time, then count our blessings. And we realize God has blessed us exceedingly in spite of us giving so much.”
Today, Jim and Deborah are debt-free, including their house, and their son recently graduated from college with no debt of his own. They hope that their story encourages others to be generous and give extravagantly.
“We have seen how truly amazing God is,” Deborah said. “He can provide all our needs and even above that.”