October 24, 2011

Don't Keep Up with the Kardashians, Part I

One cannot open a web browser without glimpsing a photo of the Kardashians, a celebrity family with a lavish lifestyle and the distinction of being famous for being famous. One of their ventures was the fee-laden Kardashian Kard, which purported to teach teens to spend responsibly.

Most ministry women are not teenagers, but they are tempted to amass debt. According to CreditCards.com, an educational site, the average American household has $15,799 in credit card debt. In addition, the site's research found that very few people are willing to talk about it. Unfortunately, a position in ministry is not protection against society's ills.

Debt can be the result of a variety of difficulties. Sometimes, a financial problem is a symptom of deeper issues. While popular magazines and Christian blogs abound in advice in managing the debt, few discuss misplaced priorities. This posting (Part I) explores the importance of a Christian mindset for those who spend money because someone needs to talk about debt in a Christian way.

The best things in life are not things. Christians possess a heavenly treasure that moths and rust do not destroy and should concentrate energies there. Sometimes, a terminal illness puts priorities in sharp focus like it did with Linda, a Christian for over 40 years. Recently, she went to be with the Lord after a battle with cancer. Linda highlighted what has lasting value when she left these instructions for her son about distributing her earthly possessions: It is only stuff. 

Eternal and unchangeable beats new and improved. Instead of going into debt for the latest material thing, Christians should put their hope in the eternal God, who is a sure and steadfast anchor for the soul. God doesn't need an upgrade. On the other hand, people go into debt to replace their "outdated" iPhone 4 with the new iPhone 4S. Only a few months ago, the older version was voted best mobile phone on earth!

Life is uncertain, trusting in God is not. Christians should realize that no one is certain what tomorrow will bring. Taking on credit card debt today while assuming there will be more money for repayment in the future is unwise. A recent Wall Street Journal article chronicled the downfall of a wealthy family who "like many Americans...borrowed too much, spent too much and bet that values could only go higher." By contrast, pleasing God with stewardship of one's current finances has a sure reward.

The Kardashians' conspicuous consumption is not to be envied. Furthermore, even poor women who labor in Christian ministry possess a much greater gift in the riches of Christ.  This cannot be bought with American Express. 

To stop spending money that you don't have on something that you don't need, see Part II.


  1. Next Friday, our family will be interviewed about adoption on the local news. This scheduled appearance has sent me into a tizzy of "what will we wear? we don't have anything that's right for TV!" Your post could not be more timely, Mom. A closet full of new outfits will not be better than a godly attitude.

  2. Dear Mom E., thank you so much for this post. Brent and I have had a few good discussions about finances over the last couple of days. We want to please the Lord in this area, and managing finances as a couple is different in some ways from managing finances as a single person. "Life is uncertain, trusting in God is not." Amen! I look forward to Part II on this subject.

  3. And after 72 days of marriage, Kim and her husband are getting a divorce. Yet another reminder that focusing on the passing things of this earth is not what should be important to us!
    I look forward to Part II!


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