An Empty Wallet

I’m not accustomed to carrying cash in my wallet, and I don’t think I’m alone on this.  Carrying cash isn’t something a lot of people do these days.  With direct deposit, electronic banking, ATM fees, and the ease of purchasing with debit or credit, cash is less necessary.  And on the odd chance we happen to visit an establishment that doesn’t accept plastic, we sigh and think they need to get with the times.  It’s almost a hassle to count out the greens and silvers to pay for services rendered and items purchased.  And if, like me, you aren’t accustomed to carrying cash, you politely leave your items and walk away. (I also am unaccustomed to carrying the checkbook.)
And to be quite honest, it’s not that big of a deal.  I can always run to the nearest ATM and draw some money in which to go back and pay for my items, or in the event that I actually did grab the checkbook before running like a madwoman out the door–I’m usually on the late side and have a million things to get together before closing the door behind me–pulling it out and filling in the blanks isn’t such an inconvenience as the banks would like us to think.  After all, with every swipe of the plastic they make money.  They’d like us to think that anything other than a bank card is a hassle because they don’t make money off of our cash purchases and very little from our paper check transactions (you gotta buy those checks somewhere, right?  and I know it doesn’t have to be from the bank, but many people still do).
But for us, we have been customers of our current bank since we became married and that bank is not in our community, and, like millions of others, have our pay directly deposited into our account.  Just going to get cash from the ATM across the street will cost us $5.50; so, if we don’t need cash, we don’t have it on hand.  And for most situations, this is fine.
But, giving to those in need becomes almost impossible sometimes.  And as Christians aren’t we supposed to be ready to give at all times?  Not carrying cash means not being prepared.  The transient, the poor, the homeless, they don’t accept debit or credit.  Many don’t have bank accounts by which to cash a check.

I understand that there are other ways to give than just to give money, but I also don’t carry grocery vouchers in my purse or bags of food in my car to hand out to those in need.  I admit, I am wary of the needy traveler and having them jump in my vehicle so I might drive them to the nearest gas station or grocery store puts thoughts of Newspaper front page headlines into my head.  I’m not about to leave my children motherless.

The other day I was coming out of the grocery store with my arms full of groceries and a nice young woman was sitting at a table taking donations for the needs in the community that have risen as a result of a population boom.  Nothing.  I didn’t even have a dime in my wallet to give.  I didn’t have my checkbook.  Nothing.  She wasn’t taking groceries or clothing or plastic.  I was unprepared to give.  So I went to the car and tried to scrape up something, but nothing there either.
As I walked away, I promised myself, from now on, I will keep some cash on hand.  The Bible tells me to always be ready to give an answer for the joy that I have.  Of joy, I am ready, but I also want to be someone’s answer, even if it’s just a small token. And I also want to  be able to not only share with them the truth of Jesus, but also be the living example of Jesus to a body and soul in need.  I can’t do that if I have nothing tangible to give that they can use.

Are you ready to give?  Or, like me the other day, is your wallet empty?  Let’s be prepared to give.

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