Paying Off Your Debts

Paying Off Your Debts

We're all heavily in debt. I am. You are. We all are. But how, you might ask.

Here's how: Practically every advantage, every blessing, every cherished possession or ideal we have came to us through somebody else's hard work.

But, you can object, don't I work hard for what I get? I don't owe anything to anybody! You're absolutely wrong.

Here are just a few items for which you're in debt: our American form of government, embodying dozens of political ideas it took thousands of years to develop and millions of lives laid down for their achievements. The church, with all it offers. Religious freedom. The Bible, which it took centuries to write. Thousands of men died so that we might have the freedom to read it.

Your warm home. You don't live in a cave, shivering over a fire, suffering from cold all winter. Our caveman ancestors did. Now we have warm houses heated by automatic furnaces.

And what about your health? Two hundred years ago you'd have had only one chance in two of living one year after birth. Chances are you'd have only fallen to smallpox, pneumonia, or some other dread disease before you were twenty, had you survived your first year.

And just recently—the Salk vaccine, so long awaited. And now many parents are too lazy to take their children to get this anti-polio preventative. Why, just a bare five years ago parents be­came desperate when polio struck their community! Now we take for granted this great discovery by Dr. Jonas Salk.

Other disease preventatives that took years and years of research didn't just happen. Somebody sweated night and day. Be­cause of their dedication, we enjoy health.

I could go on all day listing our debts. Our Pure Food and Drug Act, our great system of highways, our freedom to move from one state to another without tariffs or passport, our freedom to attend whatever church we want, our right to vote for the candidate we think best. All these blessings we owe to somebody else.

How can we pay these debts? Well, actually we can't pay the people to whom we owe them. But we can do something better.

We can so work and live that our descendants will owe us debts. How?

We can leave our church, our schools, our cities, towns, and nation better than we found them. We can add to our great inheritance. So that people coming later will say: "They left us a fine world."

Otherwise we will be parasites. A parasite is a plant or animal that lives off other plants or animals. For example, mistletoe lives off trees. Its seed lodges high in a tree crotch, sinks its roots in, and draws from the tree's sap. It depends entirely on the tree for life. It receives all and gives back nothing.

Yes, we are all heavily in debt to others and to God. We can't possibly pay them off. But we can leave the world richer for our being here.

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