“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender” ~ Proverbs 22:7

Can it get any more profound than this? We do not really need to think hard into this statement because it is as plain and simple for all to see.

After 2,000 years or so, things really have not changed much for the “poor” man. He is still in debt. And the lender… well the borrower is still the slave of the lender.

What may have changed is the way that loans are so easily available. Advertising and marketing help us discover the need for loans that we never realized we needed before…Take a loan to renovate and extend the brand, new house that we just collected the keys for, and yet to move in to; buy that luxurious sports car for the weekend and an additional 4wd sports utility vehicle (SUV) for the new found hobby of mountain tracking that you never thought about doing until you saw the advertisement.

Or buy into that super luxurious time-sharing holiday that promises you paradise on earth. It does not matter that you will have to book this unit that you presumably own, months in advance; to finally find out that you cannot book it for a week or two in a stretch and that when it is available; you are not. You do not get a refund on this.

The magic of all magic statements when you are encouraged to use your credit card: “It is not like you are paying for it.” Well not immediately…until the credit card statement comes. Then, you will have to pay for all your purchases. And here, the credit card issuers encourage you to pay a partial amount – a bare minimum of 5% or 10% of the total statement; not to worry about the balance. It can be settled over the next 12 months or so…with interest.

Or, if you need immediate cash without wanting to go through the process of applying for it; you can just use your credit card at the ATM and withdraw that cash… of course, with a 5% fee… and then…pay an interest, most times at a high percentage, while repaying back this super-easy-to-get cash advance.

You acquire and accumulate all these things. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Then, there is keeping up with appearances when you start comparing with Tom, Harry, Christine, Jessica, the Joneses, “Bucket”… You find that you become an advertisement junkie – dressed from head to toe in branded attire, including your underwear. The best part is YOU PAY TO ADVERTISE! How cool is that? It can become a race to out-do each other, even to the point of getting into financial trouble.

You find that you have to work hard, long hours; just to help support this lifestyle. The general perception of “financial freedom” is you earn enough or more than enough to pay the monthly bills. Most times than not; “contentment” is not in that equation.

Advertisers control our lives. What would happen if advertisements include a statement at the bottom, “You will have to pay for these products”. It’s like pouring cold water on a make belief world.

Is there a way out of this “false” happiness?

The recent Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on the finances of people. They struggled to juggle what needed to be achieved and prioritize their financial obligations. Relationships suffered. “Where is God in all this?”, we wonder. What does God say about money and our possessions?

Good news. There are answers to your questions. Which then leads to more questions. Did you know that there are 2,500 verses in the Bible that deal with money and possessions? Yet there are fewer than <500 verses on faith and about 500 verses on prayer.

Compass Catholic ministry helps people break away from the grasp of worldly consumerism. In Malaysia, this ministry started just over two and a half years ago with a small group of 12 people.

The programme, “Navigating your finances God’s way (NYFGW)”; is a 9-week Bible study, Catechism and Church teachings. In addition to the Bible study, participants also complete personal, practical applications including:
> How to track your spending habits
> How to pay off your debt
> What to do in time of a crisis

Your takeaway from this is financial freedom, “peace of mind.”

To find out more on Malaysian Compass Catholic NYFGW; and its next preview, go to this link

So, where do you go from here?

Sarah Lazarovic

The advertisements and promotions on how life is in the world of luxury, will continue. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. We are offered a humongous spectrum for choice. Wow!

Can we re-take control of our lives?