Tuesday, October 16, 2007

At the ATM

Visiting the bank recently, I noticed someone pull up to the ATM. I honestly can’t remember the last time I visited an ATM – don’t even think about asking me what my PIN is. The only place I tend to spend money is Walmart, and since they take debit cards, I don't often need to have cash on hand.

Thankfully, we’re fairly good about not forgetting to mark down those purchases, and with Darin's penchant for online banking, we usually keep the books balanced pretty well.

It’s funny how cash has become almost obsolete for many people. With the advent of direct deposits and EFTs, I suspect there are some who haven’t handled or touched coins or dollar bills in several years except perhaps to tip the bellboy, and they probably have "people" to do that. I’ve actually even heard some say that they don’t like handling the noisy, potentially dirty or germ-ridden stuff, and that it’s obtrusive in bulging pockets or billfolds. However, I imagine that if any of us found a $100 bill lying at our front door, we wouldn’t ignore it or throw it aside. It still holds value in our society, even if it is not excessively utilized.

I think many of us treat our faith in Christ like money, always a valuable commodity, but if someone leaves a crisis on our doorstep, it suddenly becomes more indispensable. We think of church or Bible study attendance as weekly “deposits” made into our faith “account,” expecting to withdraw anytime we want to “pay for” our sin with a debit card of sorts, as though God is the heavenly banker who levels out our accounts and notifies us with guilt-trips when we’ve overdrafted. And some haven’t handled their own faith in years. They’ve lived off the books, articles, songs and poetry of others – adopting those journeys of trust as their own. Perhaps in our consumer-driven society, we’ve decided that real, nitty-gritty faith is too dirty, too noisy, too obtrusive to deal with.

The truth is, faith in Christ won’t always be pretty and God is not a heavenly accountant tabulating your credit and debit columns, because, quite frankly, the debit columns will never be out of the red. We’ll always be overdrawn if the basis of our faith is our actions and thoughts. No amount of “goodness” or “credits” can balance out the death of his perfect, sinless Son on our behalf. Furthermore, a faith without feet to it is dead, James says. In other words, unless your faith is active in the lives of people, it’s still sitting in the bank of your heart – a non-interest bearing account.

I want my faith to be on a cash-basis, spending it like the wise servants of the rich man, only to bring back more in the end.

Maybe I should go by the ATM more often, too, as a reminder. Now, how can I get that PIN... ?

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