Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5b NLT
“When your outgo is greater than your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.”
The first time I heard the saying was from a college professor in a class that had nothing to do with financial management. My wife and I lived out the truth of his statement on more than one occasion, and I remembered his words when we did. Of course, just remembering the phrase didn’t help. The professor made the statement when speaking about budgeting and living within our means. Our severe financial treks had nothing to do with that. We had no budget … and there was no reason to make one. We had no means to make it balance—or even to come close.
Our worst experience came after I resigned from one of my two full-time jobs. My decision wasn’t rash. I had prayed and believed God led me to the decision. Making this change meant taking a walk of faith neither of us had traveled before. Our outgo outpaced our income, by hundreds of dollars. Not just a short shortfall. From a mathematical standpoint, disaster awaited.
We’d once had charge cards for emergencies, but we had long since destroyed them. A local advance payday financial institution became our best friend. Sure, we had to cough up a high interest rate in extra money to borrow, but we knew of no other way. Family and friends—and our church—helped us on numerous occasions. We gave God the credit for every avenue of help He sent.
My granddaddy called what we did robbing Peter to pay Paul. In the early years of his and my grandmother’s marriage, they did it on a regular basis. Times were lean … and so were their pocketbooks. Others call what we did living on tomorrow’s money. Thousands do it. Sometimes doing so is necessary. When we’ve made poor financial decisions and are trying to get out of the hole. Or when others—such as a spouse—have made decisions for us and we’re left holding the entire financial bag.
Some feel doing what we did—and what others do—demonstrated a lack of faith. Others believe God gives the wisdom to know how to proceed in difficult financial times. Each person has to judge for themselves and make peace with God in the process. But there are a few absolutes.
- Borrowing isn’t always evil. Sometimes it’s necessary for big-ticket items such as cars and houses.
- When we must borrow, having a good credit rating helps. It may determine whether or not we get the money, and it certainly determines the interest rate.
- Checking with God before we borrow is always wise.
Poor decisions—or poor decisions by others that affect us—can destroy a squeaky clean credit record, causing us to weep in the night. Building it back may take a lifetime, if then. But one thing others can’t steal is our joy. The psalmist knew that, and so did Paul when he said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Others may steal our possessions, our good credit rating, our career, or our good reputations, but they cannot steal our joy. When we’re going through tough times, we can borrow joy from tomorrow, interest-free. Tomorrow provides another chance for new opportunities. And if tomorrow isn’t enough, eternity will be. In heaven, nothing will steal our joy—or anything else. We can live with eternity in mind.
If someone or something is stealing your joy today, borrow tomorrow’s joy.