Savior – n. a person who saves, rescues, or delivers.
I’ve been recently trying to recount the different stories in my life; how I met Jesus, how I met TJ, my childhood, that one time where I got into a shouting match with someone at a post office… One story that’s recently come to mind has been my financial journey and a particular theme that continues to resonate in it: I was saved.
One of the best stories ever told is the story of Redemption through Jesus Christ. In one bold move, God sacrificed his Son to save mankind from a condemnation of death and separation from Him. It is an incredible story of love, sacrifice and a restoration of a broken relationship. I am grateful that I have a relationship with God and that I was saved in spite of myself. As I shared earlier, my financial story shares a same theme in that I was saved from my own mess, not because I deserved it, but out of the love of a father for his son.
I was really reckless with my finances in college. Even though I had no job, my bank issued me a credit card with $5,000 to spend “freely” and when my statement came, I was hooked on the minimum payment plan. So instead of paying off my balance as I knew would be the right thing to do, I opted to just pay the minimum and continued my ridiculous spending habits. After a year of this mess and a maxed out credit card, I finally came to grips with myself and decided that enough was enough. I had decided to stop using my credit card and to work on paying my debt down. Being the irresponsible fool that I was, I had even made several late payments and gone over my spending limit to bring my interest rate well into the upper 20’s. I was working but I didn’t have much disposable income either. Can you imagine trying to take down something close to $6,000 in credit card debt with only $150 month? I went to some websites with debt calculators and figured out that I would have it paid off in an astonishing 10 years.
I couldn’t believe it. I was so ashamed and embarrassed with myself. How could I have let myself get into so much trouble? I even contacted a debt consolidation company to try to work on my case and reduce my payment. Just before I finished my paper work to submit it, God placed my own Dad on my heart. A few weeks ago I had watched an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond”. I have a general role not to glean any life lessons from sitcoms, but this episode in particular really stood out. The premise of the episode was that Ray lost a lot of money in a poker game against his father and it has caused some family tension between the two families. Ray wants to be a man and own up to his loss, Frank wants to teach his boy a lesson and their wives just think the whole thing is silly and for the money to go back to Ray. Halfway through Frank relents and decides to give the money back but his son was adamant not to take it. The lesson that really tugged on my heart came from this scene towards the end:
Ray: For the last time I’m not taking the money. I lost it, that’s all. I’m a big boy alright? If I take the money what kind of message does that send to my kids? That no matter what happened you can go to your father and he’ll make everything ok?
Frank: You’re right. You’re right.
Ray: What, what am I right about?
Frank: You should be able to go to your father, and he should be able to make it ok. [Gives Ray his money back]
Isn’t that so similar to how things should be between us and our Heavenly Father? I’m not talking prosperity gospel here, but in every situation He always desires for us to go Him first. Isn’t that the lesson that God has been trying to teach us our entire lives? Why do we keep trying to scramble and try to dig ourselves out of horrible situations that we’ve gotten ourselves in like the Prodigal Son when the easiest and simplest answer is to just return to the Father?
So I made a decision to share my shame and talk to my dad about my situation and ask if he could help me. I told him that I could pay him back in increments but I probably couldn’t afford him to charge me a high interest rate. And just like any loving father would do, my dad simply wired me the money to pay off my debt and refused repayment from me. In one simple conversation, I was debt free.
Really dad? Just like that?
Really son. Just like that.
Sound familiar? One simple prayer of repentance and acknowledgment that Jesus was my Savior and everything was OK.
Really Father? Just like that?
Really son. Just like that.
I’ve joked around that I love money but there is an element of truth to that statement as well. Money reminds me of my story of being saved. It reminds me of how grateful I am to my dad for saving me, which in turn reminds me of how God saved me from my sins. It reminds me of this touching episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and what kind of father I want to be to Eden. She should always be able to come to me, and I should be able to make everything ok.
Really daddy? Just like that?
Really sweet Eden, my delight. Just like that.