Awhile back an old acquaintance texted me an extremely long message telling me about the bind he was in, and ultimately asking me if I could loan him some money.
It was a little shocking to get this text because I hadn’t spoken to the guy in a couple of years, and even when he was around, we weren’t close by any means.
I thought on it for a moment, and figured he must really be desperate if he was reaching out to me, but I was cautious because honestly he doesn’t have a very trustworthy reputation.
I had yet to reply to his text when he sent the follow up, “Did you get my message?”
I figured I should give him a call, he sounded desperate.
He picked up quickly and I asked him to explain the situation to me again.
He was a little frantic, there was a warble in his voice, I could tell he didn’t want to ask for money but he didn’t know what else to do.
He had gotten behind on his bills, owed his parents money, just started a new job, so no paycheck yet, and then his car broke down.
He was asking for money to get his car fixed so that he could get to and from his new job, and then he’d be able to pay me back starting next month.
I asked him a question I already knew the answer to:
“Are you sure that getting into more debt, is the answer to getting out of your current situation?”
(After all, being too much in debt is what got him here in the first place.)
He replied, “Yes, after this I’ll be good, I just need this to get back on my feet, trust me, this is what I need!”
I’d heard people talk like this before, it’s never “all they need.”
I told him I’d pray about it and get back to him in the morning.
This was a very intentional move. See I wasn’t sure as to what God’s Word said about lending money.
NEVER make a move until you know what the Bible says about the situation
Here’s what I found:
Deuteronomy 28:12 “The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them.”
Proverbs 19:17 “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you!”
Psalm 37:21 “The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers.”
Psalm 112:5 “Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly.”
Matthew 5:42 “ Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.”
And my favorite: Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favors so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked.”
After reading just these few scriptures (there were more) here’s what I got:
- God will bless me from His rich treasury so I can lend to many. (If He blessed me to lend, then it must be okay with Him)
- Help the poor; lend to the Lord, He repays me
- The godly (which is me) are generous givers.
- Good comes if I lend money generously and do it fairly
- If someone asks to borrow, don’t turn away
- Be kind, do good, and lend.
It’s obvious that it is okay for us to lend, God condones it, and there are blessings that come with lending.
Scripturally, I had clearance to lend to the money
But I did note something there in Luke 6:35, it instructs us to “lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant)
That scripture instructs me to lend to this guy and then hope he doesn’t pay me back, and then consider nothing as lost?! Meaning, if he doesn’t pay me back, don’t think of it as losing money.
However, if I do that, then my reward will be great, rich, strong, intense, and abundant.
I told the Lord, “Okay, I’ll keep that in mind.”
I sought the Lord on the whole deal and felt the green light to lend him the money.
I called him up the next day and told him he could stop by my house and get the cash. (I think it was $800 or $1000)
When he arrived, he had tears in eyes and was very thankful. It was obvious he was in a tough spot and I had compassion for him.
He thanked me over and over and begin to retell the story again, how for years it seems like everything keeps going wrong, his cars, his stuff, continually breaks down, he continually loses jobs and its like his savings is always getting eaten up. He is never able to get ahead.
By this point I knew one thing for certain.
He was not a tither.
He has what I call the “symptoms of a non-tither.” I’ve seen it too many times over the years.
I didn’t even have to ask if he was tithing, the fruit of his life proved that he was not.
Instead, almost like an instinct, I just called him out right in the middle of his ramblings, “You’re not a tither.”
I went on to say, “I know you don’t tithe, because God promises to rebuke the devourer for your sake when you tithe. Your finances are always getting devoured aren’t they? You even said it yourself.”
Now this man had grown up in the church, he knows the word, he knows all about tithing and sowing seed, but he never fully bought in, he never fully put his trust in God in the area of finances.
Consequently he has struggled with money from youth to adulthood.
We spoke on the topic for a minute, he said he totally agreed with me and that he would recommit to tithing, he has struggled too long, and his way obviously wasn’t working.
I gave him the money and he said he would pay me back over the next three months. I said that was fine.
As he drove off, the Lord reminded me of Malachi 3:8 which says that if you withhold the tithe, then you are robbing God.
This phrase flashed in my mind, “If he has no problem robbing God, he will have no problem robbing you.”
3 days later he texted and said that he needed an extra $200 because the bill to fix his car came out higher than he was told.
He asked if he could add that on to what he owes me. I said that was fine and that he could pick it up from me at church that night.
I saw him one more time at church after that.
Then he disappeared.
I never once contacted him for payment, and I never put any pressure on him to pay me back, I didn’t want things to get weird between us, so I was trying to protect that. I was just doing my duty and helping a brother out.
From time to time, the devil would throw these thoughts at me, “That was such a waste of money Travis. You knew he wouldn’t repay you, he had a reputation for being like this, you basically just threw that money out the window.”
Instead of getting mad at myself, I simply reply, “No satan, it is written that I AM a generous giver, God blesses me so I can be the lender, in fact I hope that guy DOESN’T pay me back so my reward will be great, rich, strong, intense, and abundant! I am a son of the Most High and I act like Him – kind, charitable and good, even to the ungrateful, selfish, and wicked.”
Satan shuts up when you talk to him like that.
How to lend money, the RIGHT way
You are godly, you are generous, you are blessed, and you are sons and daughters of the Most High – people will come to you asking for money, it’s inevitable. And be excited about it, it gives you an opportunity to show the true character of your Father.
But before you start making it rain, be sure to do the following:
- Know what God’s word says about lending. Do the research yourself.
- Seek the Lord on this, make sure HE wants you to do be the lender, make sure this is your role to play in this person’s life.
- Make sure your spouse is on the same page as you. Educate them with the scriptures, and then pray together about it.
- Don’t receive outside pressure. Some people called me stupid for lending this man money, but I knew I was instructed to do so.
- Get your heart right FIRST. Then lend the money. Go into it with the attitude, hey, if this person never pays me back, no worries. It won’t be weird between us, I’ll forgive them, I won’t judge or resent them, I won’t even count it as a loss if I never see repayment from that person.
If you can’t do those things, especially the last one, then don’t lend the money.
In Luke 6:33-34 it references how even sinners lend money to others sinners when they know they will be repaid. If we do the same, what credit is that to us? As Christians we are to do things on a higher level, including helping others financially.
By doing the 5 steps listed above, it will ensure that you don’t have the same results that world gets when they lend money: Resentment, offense, awkwardness, pain, envy, anger, bitterness…Lending money can be dangerous, it can cause rips in friendships and families, and create a bitterness that can last a life time.
But there is a RIGHT way to do it. And when done right, the Lord is honored and glorified, and you will be a blessing to others, and you yourself will be blessed.
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