Every year, Americans climb the debt charts like Mount Everest. Most households spend more than they make to carry an image they can’t afford.
But, have you heard about Ken Ilgunas? In 2005, Ken graduated with a BA, as well as $32,000 in Student Loans. After entering the resume round-up in a terrible economy, Ken moved to Alaska—the only place he could find employment. He worked at a Truck-Stop that was 250 miles away from the nearest town. Because there was no cell service, he had no cell phone bill. Room and board were provided. Every dime Ken made paid down his student debt. The next summer, Ken was a backcountry ranger in Alaska. With this job, he paid off his remaining balance.
It wasn’t long before Ken realized he needed more education, so he enrolled at Duke University for Graduate School; but, even though Ken became a student at a prestigious school, his thrifty, Alaskan life-style went with him. He purchased a 1994 Ford Econoline van for $1,500—for flashy wheels? Quite the contrary—this was Ken’s home. Ken removed the back seats to make room for “furnishings”. He used a plastic bin to store food and other supplies. He did all of his cooking on a backpacking stove which he used in Alaska. He joined Duke’s campus gym for $34.00 a semester, which provided a shower. Cold nights weren’t a problem, because he slept in his thermal sleeping bag from his days as a ranger.
Ken graduated from Duke in May of 2011 with his Masters. Both his Undergraduate and Graduate degrees are debt-free. He has already written one book describing his journey, and his second book is almost finished. Financially, I would say Ken is on the right track.
As Christians, we should be drowning in spiritual debt—debt that is so great, even extreme thriftiness won’t move us to the “black”. But Jesus the savior, and God the “banker”, forgives our “note”. God credits righteousness to our account, just like Abraham. Jesus paid a debt he did not owe. And because of those transactions, we’re debt free.
God credits. Jesus clears. You Capitalize. So here’s the question: what have you done to thank them?