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Owe No Man Anything

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

Days in history often find themselves the matter or substance of what makes up history. November 23rd, for example, was a day that sparked certain ideas about historical events that occurred on that day from latter years. On November 23, 1889, the first jukebox was installed at the Palais Royal Saloon in San Francisco. On November 23, 1936, the first issue of Life magazine hit the newsstands. The cover photograph, by Margaret Bourke-White, featured the Fort Peck Dam. On Nov. 23, 1943, during World War II, United States forces seized control of the Tarawa and Makin atolls from the Japanese. On November 23, 1980 a series of earthquakes devastated southern Italy, killing some 2,600 people. On November 23, 2004, opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko declared himself the winner of Ukraine's disputed presidential election and took a symbolic oath of office. Now, what newsy event pinpointed November 23rd, 2007 – the day and year in which you live? According to the news, it marked the busiest shopping day of the year, with an overall rising percentage of 7% for shoppers spending money this year as opposed to last year the Day after Thanksgiving.

We are, at this time, in the thrall of Xmas consumerism. According to the nostalgic songs, this holiday season is supposed to be the “most joyous time of the year”, although we find countless Christians trying to keep up with the Jones’ and maxing out their credit cards in order to make the “holiday” special and bright for their families.

It is, today, December 3, 2007. People are thinking and planning what they will buy little Johnny for Christmas, or maybe what to buy for their wife or husband. They are willing to create some holiday magic by buying presents which will be all wrapped up in bows. They have to outdo themselves from last year in order to make this year more special, and they know they cannot rely on Santa. They will have to go out and purchase these gifts one by one, and one by one their credit cards get maxed out.

It is, however, for good cheer that they place themselves in debt. The Reserve Bank of Australia statistics show credit card debt in Australia is now a staggering $41 billion. Experts believe that Americans will spend an average of $800 on Xmas presents alone, which translats into over 100 billion dollars collectively of credit card debt.

God has something to say about credit card wielding Christians who have little sense about debt. Romans 13:8 states, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” We may be indebted to one another in love, and fulfill the law by loving one another, but we are exhorted to owe no man anything. The Greek “anything” means anything. Any “thing” is not to be owed. It is especially emphatic in the idea that if you continue to support yourself when you owe something to someone else, you are in sin. For example, if you run up your Xmas bill to max out a credit card, and then go out to eat for lunch, that would be sin. Romans 13:8 presses us to consider very importantly that we must be a good steward with our money at the expense of making holiday cheer go around. If we don’t have the money to pay for what we buy, we should not buy it. Yes, that has further implications for all of life, and regular debt that people incur, but during this time of crazy consumerism, one should not be challenged or tempted to keep up with the Joneses. The Joneses don’t care about God’s law. They are those who try and satisfy their own bellies and indulge for the sake of the Stoic maxim, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” That translates into being irresponsibility because of one’s self love. Instead, be indebted to one another in love, instead of in love with Xmas consumerism and the façade of holiday cheer that translates into holiday debt. Don’t make December 3rd a day in history where God records your sin of being in debt to a fault.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.