KEYWORDS: money, credit, bills, lord

Owe No Man

David Berg

(Rom.13:8)—By Father David18/4/78MO—DO No.701

© June 1978 by the Family of Love, CP 748, 00100 Roma, Italia.

1. I CAN NEVER EVER REMEMBER IN MY WHOLE LIFE DOING ANY PRINTING ON CREDIT! That's the craziest thing I ever heard of. We took our material to the printers to have it printed, and when I went to pick it up I paid cash on the counter, then and there.

2. I NEVER EVEN THOUGHT OF CHARGING ANY PORTION OF IT, or paying in installments or anything. I figured if I didn't have the money in the pocket to pay for the printing, then I couldn't afford it.

3. THANK GOD I'VE INSISTED THAT WS OPERATE ON A MARGIN OF SAFETY WITH SOME RESERVES in case of a world emergency, or our whole outfit would not have even survived these past few months financially. We would have gone broke, and all our units would have run out of money. They would have had nothing to pay their rent or their bills or their food or anything.

4. I NOT ONLY DON'T BELIEVE IN CREDIT, I DON'T BELIEVE IN OPERATING WITHOUT A FINANCIAL RESERVE. I've insisted that every single WS unit have a certain small reserve to fall back on, just in case there's such an emergency‚ so that they wouldn't have to look to us. When the crash came, they were able to keep on operating in spite of the lack of income, because they already had something to operate on.

5. ANY OUTFIT, NO MATTER WHAT IT IS, THAT IS CONSTANTLY LIVING BEYOND ITS INCOME, IS HEADED FOR TROUBLE‚ whether it be an individual, a family, an organization, a company, or even a government. In other words, not only not living within the income and accumulating a slight reserve for emergencies, but living beyond their income and accumulating debts instead of reserves! That is crazy business! I mean that's really insane!

6. IF ANYTHING, THE RNR IS GOING TO AT LEAST PURGE THE RANKS TO WHERE IF WE HAVE ANYBODY LEFT, AT LEAST WE'RE GOING TO BE IN AGREEMENT! And stick together and work together. We'll not be falling all apart because of lack of unity and lack of agreement and lack of cooperation.

7. WE HAVE RUN THIS THING LIKE A STRICTLY DISCIPLINED ARMY from the very beginning. I don't know' maybe we had too much discipline or it was too tough or too strict, because the discipline began to go the wrong direction when these tyrants appeared and began to be too tough.

8. BUT THE MINUTE WE GAVE SOME PEOPLE A LITTLE FREEDOM THEY WERE IRRESPONSIBLE AND LAZY. They just couldn't be trusted with it. I think we need to get up a roster of former tyrants from whom we can draw for the situations that need them.

9. PEOPLE THAT CAN'T BE TRUSTED WITH RESPONSIBILITY AND FREEDOM NEED A TYRANT. So don't be afraid to crack the whip just because we've recently denounced those who cracked the whip too severely. Some people need a whip and I'm whipping them myself right now.

10. I'M SO DISGUSTED WITH HOW IRRESPONSIBLE SOME KIDS WERE. See, that's the trouble, they didn't teach them any responsibility.

11. THE LEADERS TOOK TOO MUCH RESPONSIBILITY AND TOO MUCH DECISION MAKING ON THEMSELVES‚ to where the kids were never taught any sense of responsibility or how to make decisions. When they were left leaderless they just fell apart. So it's a good thing we found it out, amen?

12. IT'S A GOOD THING WE'RE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT, BECAUSE WE'LL NEVER GET ANYWHERE IF WE'RE NOT TRAINING LEADERS. If we're just going to always depend on the same cadre, the same old clique and the same bunch of tyrants, why we'll never train other people to have any sense of leadership responsibility.

13. SO I THINK WE'VE LEARNED A BITTER LESSON AND I HOPE IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. I'm not going to blame the RNR for the disaster. I'm going to blame the previous system, the Chain, and the way they used it, the wrong handling of things, so that when we tried to straighten it out it just fell apart.

14. I AM FURIOUS WITH THESE PEOPLE WHO BANK ON THE FUTURE, AND NOT THE LORD. Those who bank on forecasting instead of a bird in the hand, which is worth not only two, but a dozen in the bush‚ had better watch out because I'm not going to stand for it.

15. I THANK GOD MOST OF MY LIFE I WAS SO POOR I COULDN'T AFFORD ANY CREDIT. Nobody would take a risk on a poor preacher that lived by faith!

16. DR. KOGER WAS ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT HOW HAPPY THE POOR PEOPLE WERE down in coloured town. They didn't have much money or much of anything, but they were happy. He said the saddest people he met were the ones who lived in all these huge big wealthy homes. I asked him one day,

17. "WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THOSE POOR FOLKS DOWN IN COLOURED TOWN ARE SO HAPPY when they're so poor‚ and the richest people are the saddest? How do you account for that?" He said, "Well I asked one of them that one day, and he said'

18. "'WELL, I'LL TELLS YOU WHY WE'RE SO HAPPY. WE ARE SO POOR WE CAN'T GET NO CREDIT!'"—In other words, they weren't worrying all the time about being able to pay their bills. Nobody would trust them, nobody would give them any credit.

19. IT'S AMAZING HOW QUICK YOU CAN GET POOR. People counting and banking on the future are apt to get a sad surprise, unless it's the Lord they're counting on.

20. I LIVED THE FIRST 50 YEARS OF MY LIFE CASH ON THE COUNTER BECAUSE I WAS NOT NORMALLY SALARIED, except when I went to work for television the last few years which soon petered out and I had to go back to living by faith.

21. OUR INCOME LITERALLY WAS A MATTER OF A DAILY TRICKLE, mostly through the mail. We never knew when or how much it was going to be, so we couldn't go ahead and charge up big bills and assume that we were going to have the money someday.

22. WE LITERALLY LIVED DAY BY DAY. We just bought what we needed out of what came in each day. And if we didn't have the money we didn't buy it.

23. SO IF THERE'S ANYTHING YOU NEED TO LEARN‚ IT'S HOW TO LIVE ON A BUSINESS-LIKE BASIS.—Common sense, no credit‚ cash and carry, and for God's sake build up a little emergency fund or reserve that you can fall back on in case of emergencies.

24. A GOOD BUSINESSMAN ESTIMATES ON THE OUTSIDE, NOT ON THE INSIDE. He makes his estimates on costs on the upside, not on the downside. He plans, in a sense, pessimistically instead if optimistically.

25. IN OTHER WORDS‚ HIS INCOME ESTIMATES MUST BE AS LOW AS POSSIBLE, AND HIS OUTGO ESTIMATES AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE. So in case he makes a mistake, one way or the other, he will hit it closer to where it really is. It's better to over-estimate your bills and under-estimate your income‚ so you can get it together somehow.

26. IF YOU'RE TOO HEAVENLY MINDED, THEN YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE AN EARTHLY BIT OF GOOD. If you've got your head in the clouds but your feet never touch the ground, then you're not going to last very long in this world.

27. YOU NEED TO HAVE YOUR FEET FIRMLY PLANTED ON THE SURFACE OF THIS EARTH. It's a cruel world and you'd better get used to the fact that you can't just live on borrowed time and borrowed money and credit.

28. THE SIMPLE PLAIN RULE OF ALMOST MY WHOLE LIFE HAS BEEN IF I DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TODAY, I DON'T BUY IT. I don't like credit. It wasn't until I had an assured salary that I ever began to have any kind of credit accounts.

29. BUT I'LL TELL YOU, WHEN THAT SALARY CAME TO AN END, I WAS PRETTY MUCH LEFT HOLDING THE BAG because I had bills on charge accounts still rolling in, which it was not easy to pay. So you see, if you bank too much on your income and guesstimate its size a little too liberally and optimistically, why you're apt to be left holding the bag like a lot of these places are now.

30. I MAKE OUR HOME FINANCE MAN MAKE ME OUT A FINANCIAL ACCOUNT FOR OUR HOME EVERY WEEK, so I don't even get a week, certainly not a month, behind. I want every detail, personal needs‚ perfume, everything, so I'll know just where the leaks are. And when you can buy a good bottle of locally made perfume very economically, I mean good strong perfume, not just all alcohol, for $5, we don't have to go and pay $10 or $15 for a bottle of dear So-and-so's favorite perfume.

31. I DON'T BELIEVE IN BEING EXTRAVAGANT. I'm just a real pinch-penny. I believe that the Lord supplies our needs, at least the minimum, and I like to try to stick to the minimum.

32. IF THE LORD WANTS TO GIVE ME MORE, WELL‚ ALL RIGHT, THAT'S UP TO HIM. In the meantime, I'm going to operate on an economy budget, just in case He doesn't decide to allow me to be extravagant.

33. I AM CHINTZY! I AM A PINCH-PENNY. I DON'T LIKE THESE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN SUCH HORRIBLE LUXURY! I hate to see people putting out so much money. I'll tell you, the extravagant people are going to suffer for it now because they're not going to have the money, they can't live like that any more.

34. I DIDN'T DESIGN THE PINCH, GOD DID, AND I THINK IT'S GOOD FOR US ALL. I am fed up with extravagance in the Family, and I want to see people that try to live like I lived for 20 years. I lived in campers and on incomes as low as $10 a week.

35. I WAS RAISED IN THE DEPRESSION WHERE YOU HAD TO LIVE ON $10 A WEEK FOR A WHOLE FAMILY OF 12, believe it or not! Of course the dollars were worth a lot more then, that's for sure. But that's the reason the dollars are not worth anything today, because people didn't realise the value of the dollar and they have been extravagant and over-spent, which has caused inflation.

36. IF YOU HAVEN'T GOT IT, THEN YOU SHOULDN'T SPEND IT.—And you kids better learn that! Thank God for this emergency which has taught us to economise more‚ and cut down on a lot of unnecessary expenses, cut back to only what is absolutely necessary.

37. I'VE BEEN TEACHING YOU SPIRITUAL VALUES FOR YEARS, NOW YOU NEED TO LEARN A LITTLE SOMETHING ABOUT COMMON MATERIAL VALUES. I'll tell you, if I have ever seen anything you kids are wasteful and neglectful about it's the way you treat material things. I have even seen it in some of the Homes that I've lived in and I have blown my stack about it. You break a little part and throw the whole thing away without even attempting to repair it.

38. WE HAVE BLOWN OUT MORE AUTOMOBILES, I'LL BET YOU, THAN ANY ORGANISATION THAT EVER LIVED, by stupid idiotic people who didn't remember to put in the water, oil or gas, or air in the tires or something. I told you as far back as TSC, if we would get rid of every vehicle we have, we would probably get rich! Private automobile transportation is one of the most expensive, luxurious, extravagances you can possibly have, unless you absolutely have to have it. Well, may our government never get in such a state again.


40. FOR YEARS NOW I'VE INSISTED THAT EVERY UNIT OF WS BUILD UP A SMALL RESERVE in the eventuality of just such an emergency. I really had a war more in mind, when it might be impossible to get any income, or any communication or postal service or anything else. So each little unit, wherever it was located, would have a little bit of money to operate on and survive on for a few days‚ at least to eat on if nothing else, and not starve to death.

41. BUT THE WAY THE LOCAL UNITS HAVE BEEN OPERATING, THEY'RE NOT PREPARED FOR ANY KIND OF EMERGENCY. They have no food in stock, no water in stock, they're not prepared for the slightest bit of emergency. They're operating on credit, no emergency funds‚ nothing.

42. THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO START ALL OVER AGAIN NOW FROM EVEN WORSE THAN SCRATCH, worse than zero. They're way below zero, they're way in debt. Let me tell you, it's awful lot easier to have a crash than it is a recovery!

43. YOU VSs HAD BETTER TELL THE HOMES TO QUIT THIS RIDICULOUS LIVING ON THE FUTURE, and living on credit and borrowed time, and living extravagantly above their incomes. Just go in there with a fine-tooth comb as an auditor.

44. AUDIT THEIR BOOKS AND SEE WHERE THE MONEY'S GOING‚ WHY AND WHAT FOR, and how much income they've got and why not. Get them set up on a paying basis that will pay for itself as they go.—Self-supporting. (Maria: Check what kind of napkins they're buying and what kind of perfume.)

45. FIND OUT EXACTLY WHAT THE SITUATION IS: How come they have such big bills and how come they're not paid and where did the money go that was supposed to pay them?

46. TALK TO THE LEADERS AND TALK TO THE FOLKS WHO ARE NOW RESPONSIBLE at the new Service center. Talk to some of the Home Servants who used the lit and therefore ought to pay for it.

47. IF THE BILLS ARE FOR LITERATURE‚ WE NEED TO SEE THAT THEY'RE PAID so we didn't get a bad name and it doesn't reflect on the cause of Christ. So I suggest you make a deal with the various Homes concerned.

48. SAY, "HERE'S THE SITUATION, HERE'S WHAT YOU REALLY OWE and you need to pay it. Are you willing to cooperate and pay what you're supposed to pay for this lit you received?"

49. THEN IF THE BILLS ARE STILL TOO HIGH and you can't raise the money, or they don't have it right on the spot‚ go and make a deal with the creditors. Tell them you can't afford to pay it all right now.

50. MAKE A DEAL TO PAY IT OFF IN SMALLER PAYMENTS that you can afford to pay, understand? Creditors like to know you at least intend to pay something, that you're honest and you're willing to face them and promise that you'll do the best you can.

51. THEY'D RATHER HAVE A LITTLE SOMETHING COMING IN THAN NOTHING AT ALL. They'd rather you pay it on small time payments than to run out of town and leave the whole thing flat and it never gets paid.

52. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TEACH YOU KIDS SOMETHING ABOUT ECONOMISING AND WORKING, living for the day and not for the future. I'll tell you, when I just lived day by day on whatever money came in the mail that day, I knew where I was at at least, and I didn't buy anything I couldn't pay for.

53. WHEN I FINALLY WAS ON A MONTHLY SALARY, THE VERY FIRST THING I DID WITH EACH CHECK WAS TO WRITE OUT CHECKS FOR ALL MY BILLS that were going to come due that month. Even if they didn't come due till 30 days from then, I estimated my bills and set aside the money to pay for them. I wanted to be sure I was going to be able to pay my bills for that whole month.

54. THEN IF WE HAD ANYTHING LEFT, WE ATE. If not, we got out and witnessed and provisioned and wrote prayer letters and whatnot.

55. WELL, I'LL TELL YOU‚ THE LORD NEVER FAILED US. As long as we worked and were faithful and diligent in all the jobs and didn't live beyond our income and didn't live on credit, didn't live extravagantly, the Lord supplied every need and even more.

56. IF YOU LIVE CONSERVATIVELY, THE LORD DOESN'T MIND SOMETIMES GIVING YOU A FEW LUXURIES, because He likes the way you hang onto your money and the way you conserve things. He knows that He can trust you with it, so maybe He can even trust you with a few luxuries.

57. BUT IF YOU LIVE EXTRAVAGANTLY, BEYOND YOUR MEANS‚ beyond your income‚ and buy a lot of stuff you don't need, God's apt to take away even your necessities to teach you a lesson.—And that's just what's happened to the whole Family it seems.

58. INSTALLMENT BUYING IS ANOTHER THING, BECAUSE YOU COME OUT AHEAD in the long run due to inflation. That's why some governments are forbidding installment buying now.

59. RIGHT NOW BUYING A CAR OR A TV OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT IS A REAL GOOD INVESTMENT because you're buying it today when the dollar is worth so much, but next month, though your payment is the same, the dollar's value has gone down. Pretty soon you're going to find out you're making money.

60. AT THE RATE OF INFLATION TODAY, THE TV SET IS GOING TO BE WORTH MORE 3 YEARS FROM NOW than it was when you bought it, literally. So it is wise in some ways to invest in some purchases which are going to retain their value, whether it be property or a car or a colour TV or whatever, something of value.

61. THAT'S THE ONLY CASE IN WHICH I WOULD SAY THAT IT'S WORTH BUYING ANYTHING ON TIME. But be sure that the payments are small enough that you're not going to go bankrupt and you can easily handle them no matter what.

62. OUR FINANCE MAN HAD A LITTLE BIT OF EXTRA CASH LEFT OVER WHEN WE WERE DOWN IN TENERIFE and he wanted to know if he ought to put it in a savings account where they pay an average interest rate of 3–5%, Building and Loan I think runs up as high as 9%. I said," Now‚ let's figure it out.

63. "THE RATE OF INFLATION IN SPAIN RIGHT NOW IS RUNNING FROM 20-25%. In other words, at the end of the year your money is going to be worth 20-25% less. So what good is even a 9% interest rate going to do you? That will only make up for less than half of what you've lost on inflation!"

64. SO YOU'RE ACTUALLY LOSING MONEY BY PUTTING YOUR MONEY IN THE BANK at the rate of interest today. You're not making money you're losing money. Even if you make 10% interest, if the rate of inflation is over 10%, you've lost money at the end of the year. So the only good investment nowadays is something that holds its value.

65. SO THOSE ARE A FEW BASIC PRINCIPLES: IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING LEFT OVER‚ SAVE IT for a rainy day, because it's bound to rain sooner or later.—It's more apt to be a dry day when you're really going to need it.

66. NEVER LET YOURSELF GET CAUGHT SHORT. ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING TO FALL BACK ON in emergencies if possible. Then at least you've got a little time to survive the emergency and in which you can still eat and try to find some other alternative in order to pull through. But if you're operating nip and tuck on the borderline of starvation and something suddenly happens, well then you're just sunk.

67. DON'T COUNT ON THE FUTURE‚ AND DON'T HAVE ANY DEBTS to worry about from the past. Live within your income day by day, or week by week or month by month. Don't spend money you haven't got.

68. WHEN YOU START GETTING CREDIT, YOU ARE SPENDING MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE. In fact, the worst of it is‚ you are spending somebody else's money. Then when you can't repay them it's a terrible testimony. It's a strict contradiction of the commandment in the Scripture, "Owe no man anything save to love him." (Ro.13:8)

69. YOU CAN'T PAY SOME BILLS IN ADVANCE, BUT YOU BETTER SET ASIDE FOR THEM and plan on the fact that it's going to be approximately so much. Set it aside so that you can pay it when it comes, instead of saying, "Oh well, when the bill comes due the Lord will supply somehow." That's the way a lot of you were operating, and all of a sudden the bottom dropped out. The bills came due, but instead of the Lord supplying, the Lord taught you not to do business that way.

70. FRANKLY, ANY BUSINESS THAT IS LOSING MONEY‚ THE SMARTEST THING YOU CAN DO IS CLOSE UP THE BUSINESS, put a stopper in the hole, until you can figure out some way to manage it and operate it so that it will pay for itself. If you have to, close up the Service Centers that are losing money until they get the bills paid or stop losing money.

71. IF WE DON'T LEARN A LITTLE COMMON SENSE ABOUT HOW TO BE GOOD STEWARDS OF GOD'S MONEY AND TALENTS‚ WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SURVIVE in this cold cruel world. We are not going to be able to carry on the Lord's business if we don't learn the economics of it.

72. I NEVER THOUGHT I WAS A BUSINESSMAN, never expected to be. But for God's sake, at least I learned how to pay my bills, and learned how to pay work hard to try to raise the money to live on. Those are two of the first things I learned.

73. AT LEAST I'VE GOT ENOUGH COMMON SENSE TO KNOW THAT YOU CAN'T LIVE BEYOND YOUR INCOME. Because you'll not be able to carry on the Lord's work if you can't make it pay, if it doesn't support itself.

74. YOU'VE LEARNED A LOT OF OTHER THINGS ABOUT WITNESSING, WINNING SOULS, LITNESSING AND GOING INTO ALL THE WORLD to preach the Gospel, but apparently some of you kids never learned anything about how to handle finances, and how to be self-supporting and make it pay. Thank God a lot of you had, and had a lot of faith and the Lord's been merciful. But now it's time to lay the ax at the root of the tree‚ and if some of these trees are not paying, chop 'em off!

75. ONE THING I KNOW, IF YOU SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, HE WILL ADD ALL THESE OTHER THINGS UNTO YOU. And if He hasn't, it's because you're not seeking His will first. And one of the first ways of seeking His will and seeking the Kingdom, which means seeking and endeavouring to promote the welfare of the Kingdom, is to learn how to live economically and work to raise your own support. If you work at it‚ the Lord will supply.

76. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO PROVISION IF YOU DON'T GO PROVISIONING and never make any contacts? How are you going to get any income from FFing if you don't FF? How are you going to sell lit if you don't go litnessing? You have just got to get out and go to work.

77. ABOVE ALL, THE SERVICE CENTERS AND PUB CENTERS HAVE GOT TO STOP OPERATING ON CREDIT. It is very bad. Some of them are so far in the hole and so far behind on credit, they've almost got to continue with it. That's the horrible thing about credit.

78. IT'S A VICIOUS CYCLE—ONCE YOU GET IN DEBT WITH CREDIT IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO PULL OUT. But I think what they're going to have to do in some of those cases is to raise their income by higher prices. They not only have to keep themselves afloat, but they're going to have to charge a little more so they can pay all the back bills. Then they need to build up a little reserve that will meet such an emergency the next time it happens.

79. THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE EMERGENCIES OF SOME KIND sooner or later. But if you're prepared for it and have built up enough of a margin to take care of it, then it's not going to be a deathblow to the work.

80. IT'S GOING TO TAKE SOME WORK NOW TO GET OUT OF DEBT, now that you're so far behind, but you're going to have to do it somehow. Work as though everything depended on work, the pray as though everything depended on the Lord‚ and I'm sure He'll help pull you out! God bless you! We love you!—And we're praying for you! Holler if you need help! Praise the Lord!