Like many Americans, I rarely carry cash. Between ATM card and cash apps, I really don’t need to have cash on hand. The only exception is leaving a tip at a local drive through. In fact, all of the actual currency that I have is conveniently located in the cupholder of my car.
However, there is somethings that I have missed by not using bills and coins. Do you remember those machines that used to automatically dispense change at the grocery store? In case you were not lucky enough to see them when you were a kid, these machines would jump into action when the cashier pressed some magical button on the register, causing the exact number and domination of coins to come barreling down a slot and spinning into a round cup to be scooped-up and put in your pocket. That was fun to watch as a kid. But, that is not what I really miss.
Or, what about going out with a bunch of friends after a Friday night football game and evenly splitting the cost of the pizza…with cash? Especially, when everyone only brought 20’s. No, I don’t miss that either.
Wait, what about those times when a parent or grandparent would place a new, crisp $20 bill in your birthday or graduation card? Unlike a gift card, cash had no limits! OK, I miss that one a little.
But what I really miss about using cash is the reminder. Printed on our currency are the words “In God We Trust.” Typically, when we look at our currency we are usually more interested in the number in the corner than the statement of faith written on the edge. Perhaps therein lies the irony of our American currency. Like most words we use, their true significance is found in the actions and intentions which underlie them. These four words, "In God We Trust," only form a powerful statement when matched by actions that confirm that statement. What I decide to do with the bill or coin that I hold in my hand, says far more about where I place my trust than any words written on it.
These words, “In God We Trust,” become even more meaningful when facing an economic downturn. Perhaps the dinner table is rediscovered as a “trendy local venue for the best in rustic cuisine.” Instead of mindlessly going to the movies, we may gather for a fun-filled Sunday afternoon playing games, or sifting through photo albums telling stories of “the good ol’ days.” When faced with scarcity, simplicity becomes opportunity.
We are also given a new opportunity to allow our currency to practice sacrificial generosity. In these moments when we act beyond our abundance, the words “In God We Trust” mean far more than the number in the corner. In the coming weeks and months, we have a choice to trust God with what we have, so we can help others around the world secure what they need.