January 29

Psalm 15:3-5

“who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.” vs. 5

The psalmist was familiar with the Law and its regulations against lending money at interest. For the Israelites the reason was obvious. Anyone who asked to borrow money was in need, and it was just plain wrong to make money because of another person’s misfortune. As things have evolved such a notion seems absurd, even laughable. We’ve gotten used to the notion of charging interest–even the Church has dropped its restrictions against usury–and whole segments of the financial industry would go out of business if biblical laws were put into effect. A part of this change has occurred because people have learned that borrowing money is faster than saving if we’re interested in adding to our possessions. And it’s not only the needy folks who are doing the borrowing! We want to get what we want as soon as we can–and every day we’re bombarded by commercials encouraging us to do just that. As a result, too many of us have ended up hopelessly in debt. The psalmist reminds us that this isn’t just a financial issue, it’s a spiritual one. Whether we’re burdening the poor and needy with excessive debt or squandering our future on short-term gain, we’re dealing with greed and messing with our relationship to God. As Jesus said, “What will it profit us if we gain the whole world, yet forfeit our souls.”

Thought for the Day: When is it necessary to borrow money?

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