Perhaps if I were more mathematically-inclined, I might understand why prices keep rising. Food, clothing, houses, land, and other things are more expensive than they were in my grandparents’ time. Wages are higher, but every time they go up, the producers lift their prices too. I’ve always wondered why they can’t just leave everything at the same level! Maybe you’ll say my maths is way off because, going by ratio, things sometimes cost less than they used to. You could be right!
My parents had a mortgage of £1,400 for their first home which they built in the 1940s and paid off at twenty-five shillings a week. ($2.50 in decimal currency). The Reserve Bank calculates that amount at $81.79 now – a small mortgage repayment compared with today’s levels. With interest, over 25 years, Mum and Dad eventually paid double what they’d borrowed. In 1970 they sold the property for $10,000 and by 1975 it had changed hands for $32,000.
Dad’s wages weren’t high, but he made extra by keeping chooks. Their eggs and meat benefitted our family, plus he occasionally bought 150 little yellow chickens to fatten-up. At first he kept them in a warm brooder and I remember how they swarmed around under the hood. It was amazing how soon they grew into large white hens.
I’ve checked online and discovered what that old 1940s property looks like now. The outside walls have been covered with modern dark grey render and the three large fowl houses, with their narrow feed pen, are no longer there. On the real estate site, I can see the period furniture that now graces our old loungeroom. I remember Mum’s secretaire in the corner where I did my homework beside the fireplace in the evenings. An armchair fills the space where the big cabinet wireless was kept. After we’d heard the ABC news bulletin, Grandma always avidly listened to her favourite romantic radio dramas. That house is now worth over $1.3 million!
Our parents worked hard, but they had a good understanding of the best way to manage their money, and the other things they earned. They never gambled, but gave tithes to the Lord (10% of their whole income), some to missions, and used their time to help others. Whenever someone was ill, maybe even dying, Mum would send me with a packet of giblets so their relatives could make a nourishing soup for the invalid. Those chicken parts contained iron, folate, selenium, vitamins and other good nutrients. We weren’t rich, but our family gave what we had. These small gifts were appreciated because they were given with love. Can we put a dollar figure on such a virtue?
Prices may skyrocket, but the value of love has stayed the same. Wise old King Solomon wrote these words, Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might – Ecclesiastes 9:10.
And then there was the question Moses was asked when that eighty-year-old shepherd said he wasn’t fit to do what God wanted. The Lord reminded him of the rod that he used every day. God asked, What’s that in your hand? It was an ordinary article when Moses used it, but powerful when it was dedicated to God’s service – Exodus 4: 1-5.
Jesus also had something to say about this topic. He told his disciples, Don’t hoard treasure down here…stockpile your treasure in heaven… – Matthew 6: 19-21.
Look for those words in the Bible and see what God is telling us to do with our precious things. As my parents believed, there will always be a better kind of increase if we let God use what we have. I want to be like that too, don’t you?