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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Your Fake $100

As a pastor, I have no problem with people putting $100 bills into the offering. 

Except when they’re fake. Like this one. 

When we deposited the church funds, the bank machine wouldn’t accept this bill. I thought it was because it was wrinkled or folded at the end. The machine wouldn’t accept a smoothed-out bill either. I brought it to a banker, who required all of five seconds to determine it was counterfeit.

The banker kindly said things like, “Look at the color; it’s not quite the right green. The paper doesn’t have the visible fibers. Note the lack of fine wavy lines all around. The image isn’t quite as sharp as it should be. The edges aren’t straight. Even the size of the bill is 1/16 inch too large all around.” 

I said, “It’s old and wrinkled with a big crease in the middle. So it didn’t look that different from other old bills.” 

She said, “That’s exactly what counterfeiters do. They crease and wrinkle the bill to make it look old so it’s not as noticeable.” 

At least I got one thing half right.

She consoled me, “As counterfeits go, this is a pretty good one.” 

So the church was out $100, and the bank sent the bill to the hot and fiery place of final examination and destruction where all bills of falsehood go. 

Two weeks later we received a two-page document from the United States Secret Service, the final authority on genuineness and fakeness of US currency, and they said that yup, it’s a fake. 

So I wondered: From the time the counterfeiting scoundrels made the fake bill, how many hands did it go through? And how many things did it buy? How many cash registers rang it up as $100? How many people were happy to receive it or spend it or put in the offering? 

All seemed fine until it reached the bank. The bank knew.

And so it is with truth.

False ideas and beliefs can appear true and good and useful. And people can even benefit from them. They may feel good, find peace, or think they know something important.

But when they come up for the final test before the ultimate authority of truth, they won’t pass, no matter how good the ride was. None of us will get out of this world alive. Every living soul must pass that final judgment. Proverbs says twice, in Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (NIV).

Isn't the world full of things like this? Promises, hopes, fears, beliefs. And by the millions, people go after what makes them feel good. Yet Jeremiah’s words still echo, “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:31, NIV). Things that seem so sure may not be. 

Truth must be tested. And the Bible will stand up to every test. Like what it says or not, it remains. Thus we’re wise to go the way of Psalm 86:11, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (NIV).

God's Word is like a bank of truth. It will help you sort the real from the fake. Try it. And may your mind and your heart be un-deceivable and un-dividable.

Copyright 2016 Peter Lundell. Used by permission.

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