I was listening to an episode of Dave Ramsey and a couple ages 29 and 32 had racked up over $1 million in debt with a third of the debt being student loans! This actually did not surprise me because we have become a country of citizens who have no understanding of debt and its impact on our lives.
At the time that I wrote this post, the national debt was over $31 trillion with the average debt per taxpayer being over $250,000 (Debt Clock). We do not stress (especially to young people) the importance of managin debt to insure that there is value in the personal debt. For example, I can purchase a truck for my work that allows me to get paid more than what the truck costs. There is value in this debt.
The Bible acknowledges the practical necessity of borrowing and debt in some situations, it also emphasizes the importance of responsible financial stewardship, contentment, and generosity. Debt is not inherently sinful, but the bible warns against the dangers of excessive debt and encourages responsible borrowing and repayment. The book of Proverbs cautions against cosigning loans for others and warns that the borrower becomes a servant to the lender (Proverbs 22:26-27) . In addition, the Apostle Paul advises believers to avoid owing anyone anything except love (Romans 13:8).
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20
Jesus warns against storing up treasures on earth, which can be destroyed or stolen, and encourages believers to prioritize their relationship with God over material possessions. He also teaches about the importance of giving generously and sacrificially to those in need.
So, what does debt teach us about athletic competition? While debt and athletic competition may seem like vastly different topics, they both involve managing resources, avoiding overspending, persevering through challenges, and understanding the consequences of shortcuts.
Just as it's important to manage your finances and avoid accumulating too much debt, athletes must also manage their resources (such as time, energy, and physical ability) to avoid burnout and injury.
Just as it takes time and discipline to pay off debt, it also takes hard work and perseverance to excel in athletic competition.
Just as taking out a loan or credit card can provide a quick fix for financial problems, using performance-enhancing drugs or other shortcuts in athletics can have negative consequences in the long run.
My prayer for all young men is that they apply common sense to debt in finances and sport. They recogize it is a tool that when misused will result in financial ruin or physical injury. Athletes can benefit from collaboration and support. They may work with coaches and teammates to develop their skills and achieve their goals while taking on as little debt as possible in the process.
Ultimately, we need to store up treasures in Heaven and that should be our focus. To do this, it is best to live a life free from the burdens of debt.