|Stop Using Credit|
From "SHARING" #007, March 1997
"Determined to 'take it with him' when he died, a very rich man prayed until finally the Lord gave in. There was one condition: he could bring only one suitcase of his wealth. The rich man decided to fill the case with gold bullion. The day came when God called him home. St. Peter greeted him, but told him he couldn't bring his suitcase. 'Oh, but I have an agreement with God,' the man explained. 'That's unusual,' said St. Peter. 'Mind if I take a look?' The man opened the suitcase to reveal the shining gold bullion. St. Peter was amazed.' Why in the world would you bring pavement?'" (Rev. Warren Keating from The Joyful Noiseletter)
Read that in an old Reader's Digest a while back. Gave me a chuckle. A reminder to be careful about keeping things in perspective. My christian life programs brochure quotes "What man thinks important, God holds in contempt" (Luke 16:15 NAB). We think gold (money) is so important we behave as if we have it even when we don't. And that gets us into all sorts of trouble. Which leads me to what I wanted to start off with today.
"When the Lord your God has blessed you, as he promised you, you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you." (Deuteronomy 15:6 NRSV)
That quote from the Bible is but one of many where God instructed Israel not to borrow. It was OK to lend (but not at interest to fellow Israelites) because that made you the "head and not the tail." But to borrow made you a slave. Not a wise choice. Still isn't.
I have to laugh at times though. A couple of years back I listened for half an hour to a radio broadcast by a relatively well known Christian financial advisor. He spent most of that time speaking against using credit, citing both Scripture, and current modern practical examples. At the end of the program the announcer came on with "if you'd like a copy of today's broadcast you may obtain one for $XX by simply calling 1-800-XXX-XXXX, have your MasterCard or Visa ready." Hmmm?
Now there is nothing "sinful" about credit or borrowing.
But it still makes you a slave today. I made a new business card (enclosed)
which describes me as a "simplicity teacher". Seemed as good a title as
any to tell what I do. A lot of people are interested in simplifying their
lives. Many of you are, I know. The single best "worldly" step you can take
if you really want to simplify your life is to stop using credit. Period.
No kidding. It can be done. I've done it. Others I know have too. They
also testify to the significant impact it has on your peace of mind. Want
to simplify? Give it a try. Or maybe, just do it!
(My poem "Full Circle" was included as a part of this newsletter)
Did you notice the print was bigger on the front page this time? Even so, as always, it still gets bigger yet on this page. Bigger print, less words. Always figured it would encourage you to keep reading. Well, this is the time of year I get everything ready for taxes, so I've added up all the numbers for 1996. I gave you a poem this year instead of a financial statement. But I will highlight a couple of things that either affect or might be of interest to you. In 1995 I received $594.00 in contributions. Last year I received $656 in contributions. That was not quite 7% of my income. My State Farm Termination Payments still supports 75% of the expenses here. I assume God will show me which way to head in the next two and a half years if He wants me to continue. That's when the State Farm money stops.
What types of things did that $656 go toward? Well, I added $301.23 worth of items to the christian life programs, and $587.12 to the a touch of william Lending Library in 1996. There were $306 worth of teaching supplies purchased (this would include In His Steps books, and the Peace Pilgrim materials that I give away). I know some of it went for prayer room candles when I was short of money to buy them one month. So, it got spread around pretty well.
One of the things that might affect you though is only 7 members contributed that money, and only 4 more contributed items in 1996. Since membership in the poet's circle is given basically for one year (except lifetime members) as a thank you, that mean's a whole bunch of the remaining 48 of you are up for renewal. I haven't been keeping up very well on this system. It's not designed to push for contributions, but to make sure you're still interested, and want to stay connected. If your number appears below, you should have a pink renewal card enclosed with this Sharing. It is very important that you fill it out (basically check a box) and return it to me if you want to remain a member. You will not receive a new card or the next Sharing if I do not receive it back. I will figure you no longer have an interest in what is happening here. The numbers are:
JB031 BB050 RB049 BB024 BB034 LB020 EC048 AE053 NF041 PG036 RG033 MH038 KH032 VK003 TK028 KK042 JP039 CP027 SR014 LT005 KW035 LW040 JY051
Reminds me of the sweepstakes I receive in the mail. If your number appears here ....... oh well, enough of that.
****************** NEEDS ******************
My Financial Integrity Statement says I will "make the financial needs of the missions known, but will not push for contributions." I might eventually adjust that to read just needs, since some items could be contributed directly. For example ... stamps! It currently takes 3 books (20 count) of stamps to mail this newsletter. If you would like to send a book now and again, it would be very helpful. I sometimes put off mailing a newsletter simply because I have no money for stamps. Personal request though .... get the peel and stick kind ...... not the ones you have to lick.
JUST A FEW MISCELLANEOUS NOTES
Related to not using credit anymore is getting out of debt entirely. This can really help with simplifying your life. Seem impossible you say? No, all things are possible with God. And that's where you start . . . by telling God. I put such a request into my prayers about ten years ago. Today Donna and I are almost there. Sure we drive an older car, but it's nice to live in a house that's paid for.
Does telephone solicitation seem to be getting out of hand to you? Now I tell them I consider phone solicitation to be an intrusion on my privacy and a misuse of my published telephone number. As a matter of practice I will not agree to anything over the phone. I offer they are free to send me information through the mail, but are wasting their time giving their sales pitch.
I'm now set up to receive faxes from Borges Lamont Co. for Ledges Specialty & Wholesale. It's the company that buys production overruns, etc. There's such a large variety of things which come through it's hard to select examples. But, for instance, a tire pump which has a retail of $14.99, and a wholesale (that's the price the stores pay) of $6.50, would have cost only $3.35 for a poet's circle member. A $299.00 10-disc CD Portable Boom Box by JVC with a wholesale of $227. . . $186.60 to you. The problem is these are while supplies last, so there's no catalog. I keep the faxes in a notebook in the studio. If somebody wants to look at this as an income producer, I'm going to set something up through the Keyholder program. If you want to be kept informed but can't come to the center I'll pass your name along to anyone who decides to use the Keyholder program for this purpose. I don't have the space or desire to warehouse a large amount of items. It's not the main focus of a touch of william. But this is a pretty good benefit. I'll be buying a few items to put in the Mega Mall (US27). It's better (and cheaper) for you to come to the Center, but if not, check there from time to time. If you have any interest in following up on this, tell me what it is on the enclosed postcard.
SOME STRAIGHT TALK. Inevitably, whenever I add or offer something like this to poet's circle members, I have somebody act like I'm trying to sell them a bill of goods. I'm getting to the point where I don't even like to make the offer anymore. If I was going to use this as a "worldly" opportunity just to make money, I'd be doing it differently, believe me. I put together the best packages I can to give something of benefit back to those who lend their support financially, materially, or spiritually. It's all I can do.
A last item or two. I now have an "open/closed" sign in the corner window at the Center (by the driveway). When I'm going to be there for more than a half hour I turn the sign around to read "open". So, even if you're just passing through town you can swing by and see if I'm there without getting out of your car. If you haven't been too the center in a while you should stop in and see the changes I've made.
The articles on this page were in the Lansing State Journal over the last couple of months. I figured I'd be writing about credit in my next newsletter, so I saved them to share with you.