Q: I know you're not a financial adviser, but in your experience how much debt is too much? My wife and I both have good jobs and an excellent credit rating, but I'm beginning to wonder if maybe we've taken on too much debt. We'd be in bad shape if one of us lost our job. -- R.L.
A: You're right; I'm not a financial advisor -- although I've been greatly helped in my ministry by men and women of integrity who were highly skilled in financial matters, and were also deeply committed to Jesus Christ. Perhaps God will lead you to someone like this who can advise you. The Bible says, "Plans fail for lack of counsel" (Proverbs 15:22).
At the same time, the Bible wisely warns us against taking on too much debt (especially unsecured debt). In ancient Israel, in fact, all outstanding debts were to be canceled every seven years, in order to keep people from accumulating too much indebtedness (see Deuteronomy 15:1-2). As a practical matter, if our debts become too great, they'll preoccupy us more and more, and end up taking over our lives. The Bible warns, "The borrower is slave to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7).
The real issue, however, is this: what place do things have in your life? Have your possessions become so important to you that they now possess you, rather than you possessing them? Are you more concerned about impressing others than living wisely? Most of all, have things taken the place God should have in your lives?
Don't wait for a crisis; now is the time to reorder your lives. Begin by turning to Jesus Christ and committing your lives and your possessions to Him. Then take practical steps to cut back on your spending and repay your debts as quickly as possible.
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)(c)2016 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.