2 Kings 4:1-7
But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves (v.1).
What could make a woman pass on a
pedicure, refuse hair appointments, and
choose at-home eating over dining out? For
Natalie P. McNeal, the answer was $20,000 of debt.
She became “The Frugalista” when she declared a
personal “no-buy month,” and saved hundreds of dollars,
which she applied to her balance due. By continuing this
practice, she soon paid off all $20,000 she owed.
Digging out of debt is much easier said than done.
One woman in the Bible was so far in the red that
creditors had threatened to snatch her two sons as
payment (2 Kings 4:1). With no husband and no
income, she went to the prophet Elisha for help.
Elisha first asked the widow, “What do you have in
the house?” (v.2). That was a good question, because
it’s often possible to take stock of one’s stuff and sell
something to pay down debt. Although we may have a
python’s grip on the items we’ve purchased (Matthew
19:21-22), the Bible tells us to “give to everyone what
[we] owe them” (Romans 13:7).
Unfortunately, the widow had only a single flask of olive
oil to her name. Even so, Elisha instructed her, “Borrow
as many empty jars as you can from your friends and
neighbors” (2 Kings 4:3). When she obeyed, one jar after
another was filled with olive oil (v.5).
Elisha then told her to sell the oil, pay the debt, and live
on the money that was left over (v.7). His counsel shows us that when abundance
comes, we need to manage it carefully—paying off debt should be a priority.
Living as a servant to a creditor can be frustrating and discouraging (Proverbs
22:7). But by changing spending habits, selling belongings, and obeying godly
advice about our specific situation, we can make progress toward debt-free
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Read Proverbs 22:26-27 to find out what the Bible says about becoming
responsible for another person’s debt. Read Deuteronomy 15:7-11 to
see how we should treat disadvantaged people who have borrowed from us.
How might debt play a role in our ability to serve God? How should
we guard against getting into debt?