By Heidi Goehmann
It’s a concept most church work families can wrap their heads around. Whether it is our own debt, or we are sharing the concept of stewardship with those we minister to, we know it is a reality in many people’s lives.
Research shows that most LCMS church work families are carrying a load of debt.
God also understands debt. Romans 8:12 tells us:
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
Finances are often a contentious issue, fleshy issues, whether individually, in a marriage, or in congregations. So, this language in Romans makes sense to us.
Many of you write a check each month for student loans, you might need to pay for a car you still need to fix regularly, or you might be hoping the cash on hand will cover the grocery bill for the week.
Some of you are possibly out of this life stage and thankful to be debt free. Oh, how freeing that is!
Debtors we do not want to be. Debt is a shackle, a weight, the opposite of freedom.
So, let us rejoice in the One who freed us from the greatest debt, for the very sake of our freedom (Galatians 5:1). Christ paid our debts on the cross in full. Every sin, every evil thought, every single thing that separated us from God — paid in full.
Because Jesus came for our freedom, things in this earthly life need not weigh us down either. We know these are light and momentary burdens in the scheme of eternity.
This is easily spoken, but financial burden is real. The emotional turmoil of it is also real. Medical bills and health concerns are real, and their immediacy adds to our struggle with them.
The difference Jesus makes is that we are invited to not “live” according to them. It is easy for these burdens and worries to begin to rule our lives.
Anxiety can feel overwhelming. Maybe we find ourselves in arguments with our spouse, and the fear of “the next thing” that will empty the savings account flashes in our minds.
This is living according to the flesh, and this is a challenge for most of us in the sanctified life.
Daily we remind ourselves of our baptisms, and in doing so we can also remind ourselves that, just as Jesus Christ has justified us from all sin, He has freed us from every burden. We are His.
Financial burdens and anxiety don’t rule in our hearts. Christ does. He then rules in our homes, our words, our actions, and every dollar in our wallet.
We lay our anxiety at the cross, not once, but every day. We experience restoration through His Word and at His table.
These are not small things. These are great things that our Lord offers us to lift the burden and carry the weight of every chain, even finances.
Thank you, Lord for providing for my family. Thank you for bearing every burden. I lay my burdens before you now, knowing you have already lifted them on the cross. This life I live in the Spirit. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.