The world is full of currencies. We see the euro in many European countries. I just spent eight days in China using the renminbi (RMB) or yuan. For a few decades, the U.S. dollar has been the world’s reserve currency. No country’s currency holds that status for too many decades, so I suspect we aren’t many years from seeing the dollar’s reign end in this regard. For thousands of years, precious metals have survived as a form of currency, whether jealous governments choose to recognize them as such or not.
Regardless of the currency used, it is a way to measure the value of a product or service. We identify something we want and we exchange an equal value of what we have – dollars, euros, yuan, gold, labor, chickens, whatever – in order to obtain it.
One of the significant impacts of my China trip is that I have a new personal currency. That is, I have a new way to measure the value of something. On our trip we celebrated the distribution of 7,500 bibles to people mostly unable to afford one themselves. The bibles cost about $2 each, but that can be a week’s or a month’s income for a poor, rural Chinese believer. According to the China Resource Center, each bible placed will be shared and will eventually result in three more people coming to faith.
My new currency is $2 bibles.
Before I buy that discretionary item that costs $100, I now have to think “Should I spend this or should I save it to buy 50 more bibles that can be used to bring 150 more people to faith?” Should I buy a car that costs $5,000 more than another I’m considering, or should that money go for 2,500 bibles that may be used to bring 7,500 more people to faith?
I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip on myself or anyone reading this. I am saying that we daily prioritize and make choices that impact not just our lives but the lives of others forever.
What is your currency? What are your priorities? What is the measure by which you establish the value of other things?
Leap year lesson #116 is Everyone has a currency. What’s yours?