Are you new to country living?  Just starting out or maybe taking a deep breath before making the jump?  Never fear!  Over the next four weeks you’ll find tips to make your country living adventure a success.

Getting Started: Part 1—Live Debt Free

America has long been known as a free nation, but most Americans have gradually grown accustomed to slavery in a variety of forms.  Debt is one of the most common.  Perhaps that is because as a society we want what we want when we want it—and when we want it is usually NOW!  We never pause to think about the long-term blessings we are imperiling in our haste to achieve short-term gratification.

Romans 13:8 commands:

Owe no one anything, except to love each other….

This pretty much precludes taking on debt.  But do not view this command as a hindrance.  As with all Biblical injunctions, it is actually in our best interest to keep it.

Proverbs 22:7 notes:

The borrower is the slave of the lender.

How true!  And yet how often overlooked!

Think about it.  Any lender has some level of control over your money.  To pay him back, you must forfeit some part of your income.  But this is not all.  If you owe money, you are under an obligation to pay it back.  That means that you must manage your time in a way that fulfills your obligation, even if it means taking a job you didn’t necessarily want.  Even your life is now under your creditor’s control!

Case Study

Those of you who are familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books may remember Pa’s experience with debt from On the Banks of Plum Creek.  Anxious to move out of a dugout and into a real house, Pa planted some wheat, hurried off to town, and returned home with machine-sawn lumber, glass windows, and a new stove.

“But the wheat’s hardly up yet!” Ma said.

“That’s all right,” Pa told her.  “They let me have the lumber, and we’ll pay for it when we sell the wheat.”

Fast-forward to harvest time.  Pa declared that he had never seen such a wheat crop.  There was only a week to go before it would be ready to bring in.  Suddenly, the sun was blocked out by a cloud…a cloud of grasshoppers!  In only a short time, the wheat field was utterly devastated.

In order to pay his debt, Pa made his way east, walking three hundred miles to find a job harvesting someone else’s wheat instead of staying home to provide for his own family.  He had sacrificed his freedom for a new house.  Furthermore, his wife and children had to shift for themselves until his return that winter.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Freedom is a gift from God, too precious to be sacrificed lightly.  Before you take on any debt, seriously consider these questions:

  • Am I taking on debt to reach a lasting goal or to gratify a temporary desire?
  • Is it possible to commit to working and saving for this thing I want to purchase?
  • What are the pros and cons of saving up until I can buy it outright?
  • Do I have the self-discipline necessary to avoid falling into a debt lifestyle?
  • Is the return I will make on my investment worth the extra money I will pay in interest?
  • What plans will I need to make to pay off my debt and regain the full use of my resources?
  • Do I have sufficient cash reserves to handle a large, unforeseen expense?
  • Am I positive that, regardless of what happens, I will always be able to meet my obligations?
  • What is my fallback plan in case of financial difficulty?

True, by living debt-free you may have to settle for less acreage and an older tractor at first, but at least all your resources will belong to you until you can save for something better.  Your time and money will be your own with which to pursue your vision and fulfill your life’s purpose.

Next week: Part 2 – Think For Yourself

Complete Series

Getting Started

Getting Started: Complete Series