Saying 4

Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge
or puts up security for debts;
if you lack the means to pay,

your very bed will be snatched from under you. Proverbs 22:26-27

Brad hadn’t eaten when we met up at Taco Bell. He didn’t order anything either. I scarfed down my Nacho Bell Grande as he talked. One of his roommates had moved out of the apartment for the summer, so his rent went up. Something got messed up at work and none of the tips he made delivering pizza ended up in his paycheck. They were going to figure it out next week but his rent was due tomorrow.

It was just before college and I’d saved up some money — $500 to be exact. Working at a summer camp was for the experience. They didn’t pay much, so I was proud of this. I asked how much he needed. He told me $400.

I loaned him the money.

He promised to pay it back the next week.

Next week turned to next month. As I was heading off to school Brad still had my money, and wasn’t returning my voicemails. My dad overheard me leaving one and sat on the edge of my bed. (Lately as I ready these sayings, I think of my dad.)

“Son,” he said, “never loan money you can’t afford to give away. In your head give it away. If they pay you back, it’s a bonus. A loan of any amount is an high cost for a friend.”

That’s not the exact point Saying Four is getting at but it is Orbiting the Giant Hairball.

Step One: Unpack

Geography, chronology, culture, and probably a million other things change the way we deal with debt, credit, lending, and money. I didn’t realize how true this was until I read Debt: The First 5,000 year (to be fair I listened to this on Audible). Today what’s lending and what’s investing is blurry especially with websights like Lending Tree. For the record, Proverbs 22:26-27 is talking about co-signing more than lending as we know it.

Maybe this saying, and my dad were getting to the same point as Jesus. He said

I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Luke 16:9

There is a high cost of loaning. Sometimes higher than we realize?

I like that the line between leaning and investing is blurry. When you invest, the first question you should ask is what’s the expected ROI or Return On Investment. (I learned that from Shark Tank).

I wonder what the ROI on gifts is?

Step Two: Apply

Now that the proposal for Finding Tov is off to agents, I’m focusing on the Living Tov workshop and coaching. I’m going to make “what can I gift?” A central question as I think through this.

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