The perils of a cashless society

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The perils of a cashless society

January 3, 2013 -

Cash is going the way of the phone booth.  Last year, currency accounted for an estimated 29 percent of U.S. retail payments, down from 36 percent a decade ago.  In 30 years, cash could fall to just 10 percent of U.S. retail purchases.  For those who earn more than $60,000 a year, cash comprises just two percent of point-of-sale payments.

Upscale merchants are replacing cash registers with hand-held devices.  Web-based retailers don’t accept cash at all.  Toll booths are fading on the highways.  The next generation of adults has grown up with debit cards, prepaid cards, and iTunes accounts.  Many don’t know what “ATM” means.

Does it bother you that your financial activities are becoming so dependent on technology?  Do you worry about a day when the technological infrastructure that supports our cashless society might be compromised?

At the same time, is currency any safer?  Banks can fail; money in safes can be stolen.  Inflation can rob your cash of its value, no matter where it’s kept.  Jacob Hammer was wealthy from birth because of a large inheritance.  His investors stored his money in salt domes along the Caspian Sea.  But a freak typhoon swept it all away, and Jacob went from tycoon to pauper in one afternoon.

Where is the safest place to put your money?

When the game of Monopoly is over, the money goes back in the box.  Have you ever seen a U-Haul attached to a hearse?  The temporal nature of money doesn’t make it insignificant.  Some of the people used most by God were wealthy, among them Abraham (Genesis 13:2), Isaac (Genesis 26:13), Jacob (Genesis 30:43), David (1 Chronicles 29:28), Solomon (2 Chronicles 9:22), Job (Job 1:3), and Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57).  The question is not whether we have money, but whether money has us.

A man gave several thousand dollars to help build a church.  Then came the 1929 Great Depression, and he lost everything.  A friend said to him, “If you had the money you gave to start that church, you would have had enough to set yourself up in business again.”  He replied, “I would have lost that money in the crash as well.  As it is, it is the only money I saved.  It is now in the bank of heaven yielding interest which will accumulate until eternity.  Hundreds have come to Christ through the church it helped build.”

What are your possessions doing for eternity?

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