I typically keep a little change in a small container in the car for those occasions when I go through drive-thrus for a bite to eat. Recently, as I waited in line to pick up my Wendy’s french fries, I grabbed my little coin container and counted out enough change to keep me from breaking another dollar. I looked at the quarter with the profile of George Washington centered between the word “LIBERTY” at the top and the date “1979” at the bottom. Under George’s chin (I hope he wouldn’t mind me calling him by his first name), were the words “IN GOD WE TRUST.”
I’ve been thinking about those words for a while. I even looked up a bit of the history behind their placement on our currency. This page from the United States Treasury’s website is informative, if you’d like more information. http://www.treasury.gov/about/education/pages/in-god-we-trust.aspx
The motivation to place the phrase on the coins was noble enough. It was intended to show the nation’s reliance on the Almighty for its creation and protection. I guess you could say that it was a short statement of national faith because belief in the Judeo-Christian God was nearly universal from shore to shore. That phrase became the national motto in 1956. You can even have it on your license plate in the state of Georgia, if you’d like – no extra charge.
A few years back, I seem to remember an uproar about a plan to take the motto off our money. Quite honestly, I was torn as to whether it was a good idea or not. Now, don’t start thinking that I believe we don’t need to trust in God, because is sincerely do. I just wonder if the motto has been emptied of its meaning. Think about it; does this nation really live up to that motto? If we spend our money that is emblazoned with those three words in ways that dishonor God, are we not in a way taking His Name in vain? Whether it is passing along a few U.S. bills to a drug dealer for meth or paying a prostitute or simply satisfying our greed, I wonder how God feels about his Name being a part of those transactions.
I’m not trying to start a movement to eliminate the phrase from license plates or quarters. I cannot expect that people who have no faith in God will care one way or another whether their use of that twenty dollar bill will honor or dishonor the Lord. For those of us who do claim to believe in the God of the Bible, however, those words SHOULD mean something. How we spend those hard earned dollars should reflect our reliance on God. When you pull up to a traffic light and see “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the license plate of the pickup truck in front of you (assuming you are in Georgia where both God and trucks are somewhat prevalent), think about how true that might be in your life. Let that motto, wherever you see it, be a daily reminder. Make “IN GOD WE TRUST” real in your life and begin to make a real difference in the world.