Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Debt is a term that many of us are painfully well acquainted with. Debt is that guest that enters into our lives hat soon can become a permanent yet unwanted part of our family. So many of us are so entangled with it that we fear we will never be released.

If we feel this way, we are not alone. Consider these facts:
· The average family in credit card debt carries a balance of $4000 on several cards from month to month
· In the year ended June 30, 2004 there were 1,599,986 personal bankruptcy filings.
· The average household has 10 credit cards and the average interest rate is 18.9 %
· Americans paid out approximately $65 billion in interest last year alone.

Debt has become a way of life for many people. When faced with a large purchase many of us do not ask the question “can I afford it?”, but ask “can I afford the payments?”

Sometimes debt takes us by surprise. Imagine the shock Yahaya Wahab of Malaysia felt when he opened his phone bill a while back.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A Malaysian man said he nearly fainted when he received a $218 trillion phone bill and was ordered to pay up within 10 days or face prosecution, a newspaper reported Monday. Yahaya Wahab said he disconnected his late father's phone line in January after he died and settled the $23 bill, the New Straits Times reported. But Telekom Malaysia later sent him a $218 trillion bill for recent telephone calls along with orders to settle within 10 days or face legal proceedings, the newspaper reported. It wasn't clear whether the bill was a mistake, or if Yahaya's father's phone line was used illegally after his death."If the company wants to seek legal action as mentioned in the letter, I'm ready to face it," the paper quoted Yahaya as saying. "In fact, I can't wait to face it," he said.

I don’t know if any of you have $218 trillion lying around anywhere, but I would never be able to pay such a debt. Our sin is much like that phone bill. We were created as perfect people in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve sinned and separated us from God. When we tried throughout history to make atonement for our sin through sacrifice to God, it was like making a minimum interest only payment on a $218 trillion dollar debt. We were getting nowhere fast.

God decided that the only way to help us was to forgive our debt completely. Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice, the embodiment of forgiveness for our debt. As the old Hymn goes, Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

This week, my prayer is that you realize the magnitude of our debt that has been forgiven. Jesus paid the price for something he did not do, and that we could not possibly afford. When the sinful woman washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, He told this story that embodies the significance of His sacrifice.

"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." (Luke 7:36-47 NIV)

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