growing up, we used to go to canada for a number of things: swimming, watching movies, shopping and dining. the canadian border was actually closer to us than the next largest U.S. town at one point, so it was more convenient to go to another country many times. and, when the dollar was doing very well and the canadian dollar was not doing so hot, it was quite a bit cheaper as well.
i always ended up with a pile of loose canadian change after these trips, though. something i had little use for in my home country (the exchange rate was terrible). and something i usually forgot when a trip across the border did come up. so, what typically happened was i would accumulate this pile of useless change on my desk, and it would just sit there. left as forgotten.
it was this image of the loose canadian coins left on my desk and how they had become useless to me that helped wake me up to the realization that one day all of the currency i’ve worked so hard for will be of no use to me. my bank accounts, all the material goods i have chosen to spend my money on, all useless. when i die, truly, the number on my bank statements will be of little matter.
another thought that helped illustrate the depravity of worldly goods came through the movie schindler’s list. one scene in particular from the movie still stands out to me, even after so many years of seeing it. that is the scene where the jews are taken to the concentration camp and literally stripped of all they have. everything. from the jewelry on their fingers to the clothes on their back, to the hair on their head. and cramped into a room together, shoulder to shoulder. this image, burned in my mind, was of great importance. for, if we were all someday stripped of all we had, every last one of us, then what would stand out? what would differentiate me from those around me when all we have is the skin on our backs? this image helped open my eyes to the fact that i cannot place my value, my worth in things that can so easily be taken from me. if i were to be in such a circumstance, painful as it may be, i would want to know that i had not wrongly placed my value in my possessions, but that the character of my heart and my relationship with our loving Father would be worth far more than anything that could be taken from me.
it was through this process that the term Kingdom currency came to me. it came to me as i was chewing on this idea that one day everything i had spent my money on would no longer be mine, and that it would make little difference as soon as i was gone. and it was then that the importance of Kingdom currency came to me. for, if the currency of this world is no good in the next (Heaven may be the only place that doesn’t accept visa), then i must begin working on accruing my Kingom bank account. now, before i am misunderstood, let me explain.
accruing my Kingdom bank account
C.S. Lewis once explained that we are made for eternity. as such, what we start here on earth is only just the beginning of the rest of our eternal lives. he went on to explain that if our nasty habits and characteristics are not washed by the blood of Jesus, changing us from the inside out, then Hell truly would be Hell, for our ill manners here on earth would be terrible, terrifying traits that would torment us and others forever in Hell.
now, if the dark parts of our lives are left untreated to gradually grow bigger and bigger into eternity, then the opposite must also true. as we begin to grow in our relationship with Jesus, and as He changes us more and more into His likeness, then our nasty traits will be exchanged for His holiness. we will grow in His ever-increasing likeness. being made to reflect His goodness, His holiness. it is this holiness, this right way of living, that we ought to strive for now. as we begin this process here on earth, and as we continue walking in the light, it will continue to grow on into eternity. at least, that is the promise i believe to be true: “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (philippians 1:6)
now, back to the bank account. if our money, our possessions are no good in His Kingdom, then we must ask the question, “what is?” it is only after i asked this question that i was comforted with the knowledge that it was my love, gratitude and obedience toward Him, combined with a deep-rooted love for others, that would actually be of any value after this world has passed. but it doesn’t stop there, i thought of the “fruits of the spirit,” and the characteristics the apostle paul said we, as followers of Christ, should portray: love… joy… peace… patience… kindness… goodness… faithfulness… and self control.
so, i had it there before me: if in fact i have an eternal soul, and if in fact this life is only the beginning of an eternal life in a Kingdom where all that this world tells me i must have is no longer worth anything, then my goal in this life should be to accrue as much Kingdom currency as possible. it was this realization that opened my eyes to the meaninglessness of accruing worldly currency for my own comfort. for my own prideful, selfish reasons.
day by day
does this mean i never thirst for more worldly possessions? (a new car, new clothes, larger savings accounty…) hardly. those desires are still there. but i now see these things in a different light. i see them for what they are: temporary.
new clothes will only satisfy for so long. a new car will lose much of its value as soon as it rolls off the car lot. and, while a larger savings account will make me feel secure for some time, it too will pass, and i will be left with only one thing: my impact on the lives of others, and my relationship with the one, true living God.