If you read the December 20 post, you know that my husband and I paid off our home mortgage early. Never having done this before, other than when we were selling a house to buy another one, we really didn’t know what to expect. We assumed it would be like when you pay off an auto loan. First, you receive something from the finance company indicating that you no longer owe them money. A few weeks later, you receive the title to your car. I don’t know about you, but I get a sense of satisfaction in having that piece of paper proving ownership.
Being new to the home pay-off experience, we anticipated receiving something from the mortgage company as proof of our completed obligation, even if nothing else. After a few weeks passed, I was told by the company that it had been sent to the Register of Deeds, who would be sending us something. Upon calling a few weeks later, I found that it was on record as having been paid. The woman was very nice and helpful, telling me we had been given the deed when we first bought the house years ago. What I was looking for, she told me, was the deed of trust, which proves our full ownership. If I really wanted a paper copy, I could drive downtown and get it there, or I could go online to a title site, sign up for a free 7-day trial, and get a copy right on my printer at home, which I did.
Talk about anti-climactic! At least a car company sends you a letter recognizing you have completed your obligation to them! Here we have a mortgage paid off ahead of time, a much bigger a deal in our minds, and I had to print the paperwork off the internet – with no one around to congratulate us. At a time when the whole industry is struggling, you’d think they’d have been especially glad to have all our money early!
Okay, so sarcasm and self-pity aren’t pretty at all – ever. After all, why did we pay off the mortgage in the first place, when we could have continued making our monthly payments for years down the road? I’ll refer to the December 20 post Scripture reference: Romans 13:8 NIV “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” That is the verse the Lord used many years ago to give us the desire to be debt-free in the first place. At the right time, He made it clear that it was time to complete the process, and we willingly obeyed, all glory to God. We didn’t do it for man’s accolades, though once it was done, we came to expect them. Did we fail to pay attention to the great cheers coming from heaven when we paid off our debts simply because He told us to? If we had done this for the applause of man, we would have lost our true reward, which is so much greater than anything human could possibly be! Glory be to God! Truly, we did what we did because it was the right thing to do, the Scriptural thing to do, and what the Holy Spirit had made clear we were to do right now.
The hidden motives of our hearts ensnare us so easily, even in the midst of doing the right things. It’s the subtlety of pride – “look at what I’ve done,” rather than “look at what the Lord has enabled me to do!” Thank God for His mercy and His Holy Spirit, Who helps us see the sin and sets us right once again. It’s time to return to being thankful the Lord has made the way for us to pay off our financial debts, so we can focus on paying the debt to love – because it is right. Kind of like Jesus, Who went about doing good . . . because it was right.