Wednesday, March 28, 2007

money

i was eating dinner at a chinese buffet last night. i lost my keys, and my roommate wasn't going to be home until later to let me in the house, so i had to kill some time somewhere. so i was sitting alone and studying for a test. as is usually the case when you're trying to study, they sat me close to the register so i could easily hear every conversaion that took place between the cashier and the customers. (and since i'm a people watcher anyway, of course i'm going to listen and observe). one man went to check out, and i could quickly tell that he was a regular customer. the incredibly friendly chinese woman who was checking him out asked about his child (who was not with him this particular time). she asked how he was doing, how old he was, and if he stayed at daycare while his parents were at work. the man replied that the child did stay in daycare because both he and his wife had to work. and this is where it gets interesting - the woman blurted out "how much you pay for that?" i couldn't believe my ears. my first thought was "how dare she ask him how much he pays for daycare? that's private!" and then i was surprised that the man answered her.

he paid, said goodbye, and left. and as i sat there a realization washed over me. why on earth do we think it's such a bad thing to discuss money? the chinese woman merely wanted to know how much he paid because she was thinking about putting her daughter in daycare (i learned this from the next sentence or two of their conversation). the man didn't miss a beat, and simply continued the conversation. but i wonder what most americans would have done if she asked them that question? what would i have done?

i wonder if we're so private about our money because somwhere, deep down inside, we know we have way too much of it. i mean, why would we care if people asked us how much we spent on specific things like daycare (or car payments, or phone bill, etc. etc. etc.) unless we were ashamed of the amount and knew it was way too high? when i get a great deal on something (like the ipod i got for about $20), i don't mind telling people. in fact, i tell everyone. if someone compliments a shirt my response is usually "thanks, i got it for three dollars!" but when i've spent a lot on something, of course i don't tell how much it cost. after my experience in the chinese restaurant, i do wonder if it's because i'm ashamed to have things that are expensive, and somewhere deep down i know i don't have the right to spend that much money on myself.

so i'm still mulling over this experience and what it really means. beware next time you go to a chinese restaurant, because God might just teach you something about yourself, your culture, and Him.

2 comments:

denise said...

the human fleshy side of me is ashamed of how 'poor' i am and how little i make.
but Christ in me convicts me about how 'rich' i am and how much stuff i have.

tanya said...

i love this post! thanks for sharing it! and being here in tanzania, i can really relate to the different questions about money. people constantly ask me how much things cost in america. like i paid 1,700,000 shillings to come here. that's one million, seven hundred thousand, for the plane ticket. that's ludacris for most of the people with whom i live. so i'm learning that less is more, and to do things the quick way, isn't necessarily the most Godly way. slowly i'm learning.

This blog is a testimony to the work that God is perpetually acting in my life. I am learning that when I think I've given enough of myself, I've barely begun. My prayer is that as God continues to grab hold of my life, not only will He become greater and I become less, but He will become ultimately supreme and I will vanish. This Holy Disappearance will be a lifelong journey in which, by the grace of God, I will become so wrapped up in Him that all of me will disappear and all of Him will SHINE