If you drain two gallons a day from a hundred gallon barrel, and only put one gallon back each day, in one hundred days the barrel will be empty.
Escalating debt can be like that.
When we’re young, we want the lifestyle our parents gave us. Often that means we have to borrow to get it. It seems harmless enough to pay that little minimum payment each month. Besides, the fiscal cliff is months away. When you get close enough to see the edge, you can slow down then.
The problem is that as you are on your way to the cliff the pebble in your wagon has become a boulder.
The writer of Proverbs 6 begs his son to consider the weight that obligations can bring. This came home to me a few years ago when I was struggling to find stable, full-time employment. The utility companies don’t care that I’ve just been laid off from a job I chose to stay with to the bitter end. The kids still need to eat whether I’m working forty hours or ten. The shame of accepting help from others has to fall in front of the demands of survival.
When you make an obligation, you pledge to keep up your end of the bargain. That is integrity. It means that you perform to the best of your ability even when life is harder than rolling a boulder uphill for a hundred miles. If you’re deep in debt, it means you find creative ways to pay it on time and in full.
The same goes with promises. If you have told someone you’ll do something, you better deliver. Trust goes further than just showing up and paying your bills. Integrity leads you to do what you say you will, even when it is inconvenient or painful.
We have an excellent role model in Jesus Christ. He came into the world as a helpless baby. His promise was to live the life we couldn’t live and to die the death we deserved. He did that without fail. He did it even when it was painful and would have been easier to do something else.
And if He hadn’t, it would be impossible for us to trust Him.
If you have integrity, you have a great treasure that will enrich others as well as yourself.