Financiers claim that within five decades the income of an American wage earner will increase eleven times over his current income. For example, a six-thousand-dollar family income today would escalate to sixty-six thousand dollars fifty years from now. However, purchasing power may be the same or even less. Britain's currency devaluation is another omen of decreasing money values. Some of us have lived and traveled in those areas of the world where the motto for economic stability is instability, and the value of money changes rapidly and sometimes overnight.
Of special significance is the statement in Testimonies, volume 5, page 732: "One dollar now is of more value to the work than ten dollars will be at some future period." This can be interpreted in at least two ways. The urgency of the need at that particular time to get the work established and expanded demanded immediate giving. The question is, Have the needs diminished? To leaf through the thick financial report of world-division requests for assistance indicates that not only have our needs not diminished, they are much greater! The second interpretation is that money will devaluate. Most of us reading these lines know by personal experience that a dollar gift today or its equivalent in any currency in the world cannot begin to accomplish what it did a few years ago. This fact alone should be a tremendous impetus for sacrificial giving.
There's another interesting facet to the devaluation concept. "Money will soon depreciate in value very suddenly when the reality of eternal scenes opens to the senses of man," says Ellen G. White in Evangelism, page 63. The point is that there are two types of depreciation. Governments may arbitrarily devalue money, but the attitude of the possessor of money can do the same. Today we are witnessing a constant depreciation of the actual value of money, but are we seeing a corresponding depreciation of money in the eyes and attitudes of Advent believers?
Mixed Up "Nots"
Too many of us mix up the "nots" in 2 Corinthians 4:18. We read it like this: "While we look at the things which are seen, but not at the things which are not seen: for the things which are not seen are temporal; but the things which are seen are eternal."
The poverty-ridden widow whose tiny but fabulous gift has inspired millions the world around had placed a correct value on money. She saw money through the eyes of God. The scenes of eternity never looked greater to her than the day when she deposited in the church everything she had. With her husband gone, she was the sole support of her household. She of all people could have justified keeping her money, but had she done this, the world as well as she would have lost an unusual blessing.
The day is certain to come when the global population will suddenly lose total appreciation for money or any other materialistic possession. When the sky is ripped asunder by our Lord's return and earth's masses finally sense the utter futility of man's aims, achievements, and possessions, then the universe will witness the greatest devaluation act of all history. Ezekiel described it vividly when he declared, "They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord" (Eze. 7:19).
Our preaching and living should be of such a quality that our members will think less of their possessions and more of eternal realities. This is true devaluation.
J. R. S.