The Sermon on the Mount: Money

After this morning’s teaching on Matthew 6:19-24, a thoughtful young man in Coram Deo emailed me with a question about student loans. I thought I’d post it here, because I think it’s a common question.

His Question:

Pastor Bob: I was wondering if you would consider student debt to be investment debt or consumer debt?  Just curious because I’m seriously considering going back to college, but I’d need to get some loans to do so.  I already have some moderate student debt that I’ve been faithfully paying off the last five years, so I’m wondering if it would be biblically acceptable to get more student loans.

My Response:

I would seriously urge avoiding student debt. It has become a “given” in our culture, but I think it’s generally unwise and unneccessary for most people – if you work hard and plan well, you can pay for school as you do it rather than taking out loans to pay for it up front.

It’s not as bad as credit card debt because the interest rates are lower. But I would still consider it ‘consumer debt’ because it’s not an investment in something that will generally appreciate in value. Some would say that you’re investing in a future career with a higher earning potential – but in our current economy, that logic is invalid. I can point to all sorts of college grads making minimum wage at coffee shops because they can’t find a job with their $80k engineering degree.

I can’t give you a verse that says it’s biblically unacceptable, if that’s what you’re looking for. Some things are immoral; other things are just unwise. Student debt in general is not immoral; but it is unwise.

Thanks for asking. I pray the Lord will direct you as you consider what to do!

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