With the dawn of the New Year 2002, twelve European countries made the
biggest monetary conversion in history. For all the historical and
sentimental value attached to francs, lira, marks, and other familiar
currencies, they have now been officially abandoned in favor of the new euro.
Although euro notes and coins will circulate with the old currencies for
varying periods, the plan calls for 300 million Europeans to be using only
the euro within two months of E-Day" as January 1, 2002, was dubbed.
There were heated political debates. There were protests. There were dire
predictions of confusion and economic disarray. But the changeover took
place. And if I'm ever in Europe again, I will have to change dollars for
euros. That's just the way money works. Travelers must use "coin of the realm."
Oh, I know all about coin of the realm. It's not that I'm such a seasoned or
sophisticated vagabond. It's that I have taken children to playrooms and
pizza parlors where dollars, quarters, and nickels won't spend. When you
walk through the door with wide-eyes kids pulling away from you to get to
the games and vehicles, you have to restrain them long enough to buy those
brass-colored, quarter-sized tokens that will make the wheels turn and lights
flash. Only the tokens with the place's mascot in profile will function
as coin of the realm.
The same thing is true in principle for flesh and Spirit, the world and the
kingdom of God. In the former, money, sex, and power are typically regarded
as having ultimate value. "Look Out for Number One" is the operative
principle. I've even seen "The One With the Most Toys Wins" splashed
on bumper stickers.
If you intend to live a spiritual life that honors God and fulfills your
proper destiny, you will have to cash in the old currencies of materialism,
sensualism, and intimidation. Prejudice and hatred, anger and impurity,
lust and stupor, selfishness and greed" they won't spend in the world of
virtue and right relationships. They must be traded in for new coinage that
will include self-control and kindness, generosity and faithfulness,
humility and patience, peace and joy.
The most important unit of currency in this new country is love. It is what
you will spend on such cherished items as caring for others, sacrifice, and
forgiveness. It's coin of the realm for where you've always wanted to be.
I find it interesting that even banks call this exchange process "conversion."
By Rubel Shelly