The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.
— Psalm 37:21 (NIV)
Though often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be” actually comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Today’s verse warns against borrowing but never repaying, and in what is definitely not a “warm fuzzy,” calls such people “wicked.” Borrowing without returning can cause inconvenience or even harm to the owner, plus it violates the lender’s trust. Amazingly, according to the US Debt Clock, at the time of this writing, the US national debt is over $31.7 trillion dollars. As a reference, it took the USA from Presidents George Washington all the way to Ronald Reagan to run up a $1 trillion dollar debt. But from Reagan to today, it’s pushing $32 trillion.
Imagine how much the interest payments are on principle of $31.7 trillion? How will we, or our future generations ever pay that interest, let alone the principle?
Most everyone has heard of America’s famous Liberty Bell, but did you know a Bible verse is engraved on it? It’s Leviticus 25:10. “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof.” This verse tells us God values liberty and wants that for His children, and staying out of debt is financial freedom, but falling into debt brings bondage and slavery. No wonder the Bible calls people who cause that “wicked.”
In contrast, the Bible commends those who give generously and calls them “righteous.” In one remarkable scene recorded in both Mark and Luke, a poor widow went to the temple and made a donation of only “two small copper coins, which make a penny.”
“Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions.'” Mark 12:41-43 (NLT)
In ancient times, a poor widow didn’t count for much socially, yet Jesus praised he example and now her story is recorded in the Bible for eternity.
The word for you is: repay what you borrow, and give generously of your time, talent, and treasure.