These days, I hear a lot of folks freaking out about money. Big companies going down, wall street doing somersaults. It seems like a big part of the fear surrounding these issues involves one thing: what if horrible financial decline happens to me? What if I become poor?
Now, for sure, it’s not a pleasant thing, but it could happen. It has happened to a lot of people, and continues to. This isn’t due to large-scale, media-blitzed “financial crises”. It just happens. Jobs get lost. Accidents happen. Medical bills pile up. But, it also happens for more preventable, and less pitiable reasons: Bought an expensive car, went to college for something that you can’t get a job in, racked up credit card bills because you like to live way beyond your means.
It seems to me there are two things lacking in society today, that, if we had a good deal more of them, we (as a people) could get by, much better. The first is personal responsibility for finances. Credit card debt is rarely out of our control. So, don’t use a credit card unless you can pay it off. New cars aren’t necessary. (In fact, if you live in the right spot, or are willing to move there, cars aren’t necessary – a lot can be done with a bike, with public transit and with your own two legs.) So, don’t get a new car, get a used one (or don’t get one at all).
The second thing is social responsibility for our fellow members of society. If you live in society (and chances are, if you’re reading this, you do), then there are certain obligations you have. Not only is there the obligation to pay taxes to take care of the public utilities, goods and services that you personally use, but there is the obligation to help out your fellow man. If this happens because you’re getting taxed heavily and some of that is going to social programs to help the less fortunate, OK. But it’s much more effective to do it more hands on. Give to charities that help the less fortunate. Go out and find folks who are less fortunate and help them personally. Let them live with you, if they’re homeless. Give them food, if they’re hungry.
Our society is founded on Christian principles. Now, by no means does everyone have to be a Christian for this society to work. But, it’d work better if we all embraced this line from the book of James: “True religion consists of this: to help widows and orphans in their need.”