Q. Is there anything in Scripture with regards to being a disciple and being in debt? With debt being a master of sorts, is it possible that Jesus would “give the go ahead” for someone to be a disciple while in debt? I know it’s been done and is still being done but is it right?
A. The Bible commands us not to allow anything into our life that would interfere with our ability to serve the Lord. Paul even included having a spouse in that category (1 cor. 7:25-31). He also warned us not to conform any longer to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2) which means don’t lust after material things.
The Lord also gave several very clear teachings on the cost of following Him. In Matt 13:22 He said the worries of this world and the deceitfulness of wealth can make us unfruitful in ministry. Here’s another example.
“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:57-58). By this He was asking the man if he was willing to give up every worldly possession or comfort if necessary.
He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:59-60)
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”
Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:61-62).
Not even important family ties should take precedence over our service to the Lord.
The point here is that every worldly obligation we accept has the potential to impair our ability to serve the Lord. The burden of debt is one of the most dangerous because until it’s repaid, it literally enslaves us to our creditors.