Real or Counterfeit

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

I remember the first $100 bill I ever saw. I was in the first grade in Notasulga, Alabama. It was in 1944. Times were tough and $100 bills were as scarce as a hen’s tooth.

The man who owned the drug store in Notasulga had a $100 bill. Word spread all over town about it and we all went down and lined up just to look at it. He didn’t let anybody touch it – you could just look.

$100 bills are much more common today, but they have also become subject to counterfeiting. Some evil people are always looking for a way to make a easy hundred bucks.

A few months ago the U. S. Treasury introduced the latest version of the $100 bill. It was designed to be counterfeit proof. It includes “a color-shifting image of a bell,” that would negate the efforts of counterfeiters.

There is one slight problem. The Treasury hasn’t figured out a way to print these new $100 bills! They were planned to rollout in 2011, but that will be postponed because 30 percent of the 1.1 billion bills printed to date were flawed.

They say it is a problem in the printing process that leaves sections of the bill unmarked. I wonder what they do with all of these flawed bills? I expect they get a lot of offers to help get rid of them.

These $100 bills are stored in vaults in Texas and Washington, D.C. They are trying to find some mechanism that will separate the usable bills from the flawed bills. They can’t sort them by hand – they estimate that would take about 30 years!

Sorting the real from the counterfeit has always been a problem in life. Paul told Timothy to be very careful because so many people choose the counterfeit instead of the real. It was a problem in the early church. Paul gives the names of two Old Testament leaders, Jannes and Jambres, who opposed Moses because they were “men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith.” (II Timothy 2:8 RVS)

The problem is that the counterfeit bills look so much like the real bills. Bad values look so much like good values. It is a challenge for all of us.

We Christians do have a tremendous advantage. When you have to try to separate the usable from the duds, we can ask for God’s help. He knows what is real and what is counterfeit. His greatest desire is live in and through us to help us make those good decisions. The good and the counterfeit can be separated by Biblical guidance – it won’t take 30 years!

The new $100 bills are delayed. They are flawed. God’s truth is not new, nor flawed, nor is it delayed!

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