Today’s society claims to value freedom, but it seems that their definition of freedom is that of rebellion and defiance. In exchange for having the freedom to rebel and do whatever their heart’s desire, they lose their true freedom. One can be free to attend university, but if that “freedom” ends in debt bondage, is that the freedom we should be embracing?
Getting support from churches means that you have to dance through the governmental hoops that they are constrained by. Since your support is constrained, you become constrained as well. If you are able to provide the crux of your own support, either through online work or passive income, there will be fewer hoops and less worry if you decide to change the ministry you are involved in.
Freedom and bondage are like a bird with a string attached to it and held by someone on the ground. If the bird knows no better, it thinks it has freedom and is happy. But, if it knows what the true freedom of flight is, it will recognize the string as bondage, slight as the string may be.
The Freedom of Obedience:
For the past two years, almost three now, I have had a consistent saying. “When God calls, He also provides and protects.” The greatest freedom possible, is the freedom found when obeying God’s call on your life. Obedience, however, is not always easy. But, the rewards of that freedom are greater than the temporary rewards of rebellion and sin-bondage. For, in this world, we really only have one choice. We can choose who to serve, whether God on high, or the adversary by rejecting The Most High. That is the only choice we actually have the freedom to make, all our other choices end up being informed by who we choose to serve.
Obedience to God’s voice brings the greatest freedom. Why? Because, even though the road may be a challenge, and you can only see one or two steps ahead, God is in control and He will bring you through. When you advance in obedience and trust, then God is the one who guides and gives success. Of course, the outcome you anticipate may not actually be God’s plan, but usually God’s outcome is far better than we could ever imagine when we first stepped out to follow Him.
The Value of Debt Freedom
Stepping away from slightly religious talk for a moment, looking around at the world it seems that debt is the single largest destroyer of lives and marriages in current society. Credit card debt is at an insane high, and nearly anyone with a house also has a mortgage, and in the middle of all that there are also private loans, student loans, and lines of credit.
We live in a society where nearly everyone has a credit card, and where many people go “oh I’ll put it on credit” instead of waiting till they have saved enough to cover an extra purchase. Thus, the debt continues to grow, and with interest, debt literally snowballs.
In Canada, you have to have a credit card in your name to build your credit rating. Other countries, like England, sometimes take into account lack of debt and current assets when evaluation a person’s credit risk – unfortunately Canada and the USA don’t.
If you are just starting out in the realm of credit cards, remember that it is a loan – not cash. To build your credit rating buy one or two small “in budget” purchases per month, then pay off the card balance on-time. Use your card as a tool. You can’t book an airline flight without a credit card; many purchases require credit cards or work better with credit cards. Just remember to always evaluate the validity of a purchase before putting it on plastic. If it’s not in your budget, don’t get it.
If you currently have debt, I would recommend checking out Dave Ramsey’s books.
The Value of Christian Debt Freedom:
In my walk with God, obedience included following a tiny verse from Proverbs. “The borrower is servant to the lender” and a verse from Matthew “you cannot serve two masters” (Cite). If God is my master, by choice, then how can I also choose to serve someone else to repay a deliberately encountered debt?
By following my call without debt, I have greater freedom because I only have One Master.
During my University education, I had many years where I wondered how I would avoid debt when paying that year’s tuition, particularly when the exchange rate went haywire. I am glad I finished early and I’m not attending an American university when it is 1.5 CAN to 1 USD!
However, every year, exactly what I needed was always provided, even when I spent the equivalent of a year’s tuition on two weeks in Israel. The trip, I later discovered, completely challenged my theological perspective, right before taking theology. One thing I learned is that provision always follows one’s obedience to the call. One must step forward in faith and trust, before one sees the evidence of it.
As a believer, being free from debt means that when God gives you a challenging call, you have freedom to follow immediately and without worrying.
Do I worry? Yep, but not about paying off debt!
The Value of Self-Supporting Freedom:
I have freelanced and worked online for the past four years. In that time, I have never wished that I was back to working for someone else to exchange my time for money. I enjoy balancing work and life, using my time to do what I love and help others, and creating books and other things once that then have on-going income potential.
Time does not equal money.
It is this type of freedom that I embraced when I decided I wanted to be self-supporting in ministry. My goal is to works as a volunteer during the day, and to dedicate my early mornings and evenings to being a writer, freelancer, blogger, and patreon creator. Why? Because it is this type of work that brings me joy.
Now, I am not saying that it is bad to be supported by a church, or multiple churches. It is just that there comes a point where the number of hoops to jump through, and the amount of paperwork to be done, equals more of a headache than a joy. As an independent creator, I have joy! But, when I stare at the hoops to jump through to have official church support I just get completely and utterly overwhelmed – not to mention I hate forms and paperwork.
You may have different passions, goals, and perspectives, but remember one thing. Working for others often equates exchanging time for money. Working for yourself means a lot more work, but also a lot more freedom and the ability to create things that take time now but can more than pay off in the long run.
Freedom and Ministry:
Ministry is usually a call to obedience in working with, or among, a certain group. Sometimes a ministry may not even seem like a ministry, but one’s testimony ends up spreading far more than one expected. One example of “ministry not ministry” is that of bloggers who are believers but never mention it, they simply serve their audience, blog honestly and straightforwardly. And, many times, their audience knows what has never been said – these bloggers are believers.
Ministry also does not equal volunteering or being supported. Your call may be to minister in a corporate culture workplace, by serving in your neighborhood, or any number of other ways. As believers, our call is not so much to verbalize the good news, as to live it.
As Francis of Assisi said “preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”