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Owe no man!

David Berg's policy on monetary matters -- good advice for all!

By David Brandt Berg, written June 1978
Pay your bills on time or else!

I can never ever remember in my whole life doing any printing on credit! That's the craziest thing I ever heard of! We took our material to the printers to have it printed, and when I went to pick it up I paid cash on the counter, then and there.

I never even thought of charging any portion of it, or paying in installments or anything. I figured if I didn't have the money in my pocket to pay for the printing, then I couldn't afford it.

I not only don't believe in credit, I don't believe in operating without a financial reserve.

Any outfit, no matter what it is, that is constantly living beyond its income, is headed for trouble, whether it be an individual, a family, an organisation, a company, or even a government. In other words, not only not living within their income and accumulating a slight reserve for emergencies, but living beyond their income and accumulating debts instead of reserves! That is crazy business! I mean that's really insane!

It's amazing how quick you can get poor. People counting and banking on the future are apt to get a sad surprise, unless it's the Lord (Jesus Christ) they're counting on.

So if there's anything you need to learn, it's how to live on a business-like basis.--Common sense, no credit, cash and carry, and for God's sake build up a little emergency fund or reserve that you can fall back on in case of emergencies.

A good businessman estimates on the outside, not on the inside. He makes his estimates on costs on the upside, not on the downside. He plans, in a sense, pessimistically instead of optimistically.

In other words, his income estimates must be as low as possible, and his outgo estimates as high as possible. So in case he makes a mistake, one way or the other, he will hit it closer to where it really is. It's better to overestimate your bills and underestimate your income, so you can get it together somehow.

If you're too heavenly-minded, then you're not going to be an earthly bit of good. If you've got your head in the clouds but your feet never touch the ground, then you're not going to last very long in this World.

You need to have your feet firmly planted on the surface of this Earth. It's a cruel World and you'd better get used to the fact that you can't just live on borrowed time and borrowed money and credit.

The simple plain rule of almost my whole life has been if I don't have the money today, I don't buy it. I don't like credit. It wasn't until I had an assured salary that I ever began to have any kind of credit accounts.

But I'll tell you, when that salary came to an end, I was pretty much left holding the bag because I had bills on charge accounts still rolling in, which it was not easy to pay. So you see, if you bank too much on your income and guesstimate its size a little too liberally and optimistically, you're apt to be left holding the bag like a lot of places are now.

I don't believe in being extravagant! I'm just a real pinch-penny. I believe that the Lord supplies our needs, at least the minimum, and I like to try to stick to the minimum.

If the Lord wants to give me more, well, all right, that's up to Him. In the meantime, I'm going to operate on an economy budget, just in case He doesn't decide to allow me to be extravagant.

I am chintzy! I am a pinch-penny. I don't like these people who live in such horrible luxury! I hate to see people putting out so much money. I'll tell you, the extravagant people are going to suffer for it now because they're not going to have the money, they can't live like that any more.

If you haven't got it, then you shouldn't spend it.

You'd better quit this ridiculous living on the future, and living on credit and borrowed time, and living extravagantly above your income.

Audit the books and see where the money's going, why and what for, and how much income you've got or why not. Get set up on a paying basis that will pay for itself as you go.--Self-supporting.

If the bills are too high and you can't raise the money, or you don't have it right on the spot, go and make a deal with the creditors. Tell them you can't afford to pay it all right now.

Make a deal to pay it off in smaller payments that you can afford to pay. Creditors like to know you at least intend to pay something, that you're honest and you're willing to face them and promise that you'll do the best you can.

They'd rather have a little something coming in than nothing at all. They'd rather you pay it on small time payments than to run out of town and leave the whole thing flat and it never gets paid.

When I finally was on a monthly salary, the very first thing I did with each check was to write out checks for all my bills that were going to come due that month. Even if they didn't come due till 30 days from then, I estimated my bills and set aside the money to pay for them. I wanted to be sure I was going to be able to pay my bills for that whole month.

Then if we had anything left, we ate. If not, we got out and witnessed and provisioned and wrote prayer letters and whatnot.

Well, I'll tell you, the Lord never failed us! As long as we worked and were faithful and diligent in all the jobs and didn't live beyond our income and didn't live on credit, didn't live extravagantly, the Lord supplied every need and even more.

If you live conservatively the Lord doesn't mind sometimes giving you a few luxuries, because He likes the way you hang onto your money and the way you conserve things. He knows that He can trust you with it, so maybe He can even trust you with a few luxuries.

But if you live extravagantly, beyond your means, beyond your income, and buy a lot of stuff you don't need, God's apt to take away even your necessities to teach you a lesson.

Instalment buying is another thing, because you come out ahead in the long run due to inflation. That's why some governments are forbidding instalment buying now.

That's the only case in which i would say that it's worth buying anything on time. But be sure that the payments are small enough that you're not going to go bankrupt and you can easily handle them no matter what.

So here are a few basic principles: If you have anything left over, save it for a rainy day, because it's bound to rain sooner or later.--It's more apt to be a dry day when you're really going to need it.

Never let yourself get caught short. Always have something to fall back on in emergencies if possible. Then at least you've got a little time to survive the emergency and in which you can still eat and try to find some other alternative in order to pull through. But if you're operating nip and tuck on the borderline of starvation and something suddenly happens, then you're just sunk.

Don't count on the future, and don't have any debts to worry about from the past. Live within your income day by day, or week by week or month by month. Don't spend money you haven't got.

36. When you start getting credit, you are spending money you don't have. In fact, the worst of it is, you are spending somebody else's money. Then when you can't repay them it's a terrible testimony. It's a strict contradiction of the commandment in the Scripture, "Owe no man anything save to love him".--Romans 13:8.

You can't pay some bills in advance, but you'd better set aside for them and plan on the fact that it's going to be approximately so much. Set it aside so that you can pay it when it comes, instead of saying, "Oh well, when the bill comes due, the Lord will supply somehow." That's the way a lot of you were operating, and all of a sudden the bottom dropped out. The bills came due, but instead of the Lord supplying, the Lord taught you not to do business that way!

If we don't learn a little common sense about how to be good stewards of God's money and talents, we're not going to be able to survive in this cold cruel world. We are not going to be able to carry on the Lord's business if we don't learn the economics of it.

One thing I know, if you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, He will add all these other things unto you.--Matthew 6:33. And if He hasn't, it's because you're not seeking His Will first. And one of the first ways of seeking His Will and seeking the Kingdom, which means seeking and endeavouring to promote the welfare of the Kingdom, is to learn how to live economically and work to raise your own support. If you work at it, the Lord will supply.

There are always going to be emergencies of some kind sooner or later. But if you're prepared for it and have built up enough of a margin to take care of it, then it's not going to be a deathblow to the work.

It's going to take some work now to get out of debt, if you're so far behind, but you're going to have to do it somehow. work as though everything depended on work, and pray as though everything depended on the Lord, and I'm sure He'll help pull you out! God bless you!

Copyright © 1998 by The Family International

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James Arendt
James Arendt

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