Paying Your Obligations

Proverbs 7:14 “I was due to offer peace offerings; Today I have paid my vows.

Interesting that this verse is in the midst of a seductress’ justification for enticing a fool away from the paths of righteousness. Read the context and you will see it, clear as the day.

Meeting one’s obligations toward God or others can be wonderfully freeing. “I’ve paid my debt to this person or that company. They no longer hold anything over my head. Now I can use my resources toward my own life and wants and needs!” or “I’ve put in the time for going to church and even sat attentively through the preacher’s sermon. Now I can kick back and enjoy the game this afternoon.”

Regarding our obligations to other people and companies, getting out from under their proverbial thumbs is freeing. It is a worthy goal we should all strive to meet. I’d rather put my resources to work to benefit me and my family than to benefit others any day of the week, but I know that when the refrigerator needs replacing and there isn’t enough in savings, we will have to purchase the new one on credit. Then it becomes a race to pay off our debts as soon as possible so that we can get back to growing our own wealth. This is why people hold parties when their mortgages are finally paid off and they get to burn all that paperwork that has tied them to the banks for so long.

Our obligations to God, however, are not so easily dismissed and this is where the adulteress in the passage gets it all wrong.

When we realize the magnitude of the price that was paid to keep us all out of hell and seriously consider the pittance that God asks in return, we come to understand that there is no way we will ever be able to fully pay back what we owe to Him. Even after we have given Him all that He has asked of us, there is still more that we, in our own hearts, still need to do.

When I was a younger man, I enlisted into the U.S. Army, in large part to give back to the country that has provided me such freedoms and opportunities. I served with distinction and finally earned an honorable discharge and a release from the service to the nation. This, however, does not excuse me from my continued allegiance. Even thirty years later there is so much i still owe that no amount of service or sacrifice I may be called upon to give will ever fully repay.

And then there’s the financial debt I owe to someone who chose to loan us money during a difficult time on our lives. It has been many years since then and I am now within a single payment of eliminating that debt. Once it is over, I have the choice about my attitude toward that person. I could either be resentful for her being on my case to pay back what I owed, or I can be ever grateful that she loaned me the money when no one else would.

And the same holds true for what we truly owe to the Lord’s grace. No matter how much we have already given, no matter how much we will give in the coming months and years of our lives, we could even come close to what God, through Jesus has already done for us.

So what do you think? Once you’ve paid your obligations to God and to others, what will your attitude be? Will you run off to your own selfish, greedy, prideful wants and desires that you’ve been harboring in the deep recesses of your mind, or will you do something different?

What do you think? Join in the dialogue; we’d love to hear from you!

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