I’ve got a fascinating fact for you, but first, a question. (Stop me if you’ve heard this.)
If someone (with money to burn or semi-truck loads of pennies) were to give you the choice of taking either one million dollars in cash right now, or a penny, one cent, that would be doubled every day for one month (30 days), which would you choose?
Let’s stipulate that no calculators are allowed. Take all the time you want, as long as it’s not more than 30 seconds.
The fact that I’m asking alerts you to a twist in the tale, doesn’t it? Maybe that would be enough to prompt you to opt for the penny.
I hope so. Because I’m told that the “penny option” works out to . . . wait for it . . . $5,368,709!
And that, friends, illustrates the wonder and beauty, if you’re on the receiving end, of compound interest. I’m sure more than a few financial planners have used this rather amazing mathematical truth to encourage their clients. I’m also sure that it’s far better to be on the receiving, rather than the paying, end of compound interest. Credit cards come to mind. Thus the practical financial truth behind this mathematical truth is not hard to grasp.
What I’d like to ponder now is not as easily proven, but I’m betting that it is every bit as true. I do know for sure that my mother thought it was true and acted accordingly.
Rule Number One in Mom’s house was this: “You Do Not Lie.” She put it more positively at times: “You Do Tell the Truth.” But even our Creator went with the former version in one of the Big Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Do not lie.
Why not? Because lying is against the very nature of God who is the embodiment of all that is true. He will not lie. He literally cannot lie or be false to his own nature in any way. And his children cannot become liars without also becoming hurt and hurtful.
So you could count on the fact that my mother would never put up with anything that smelled of falsehood. Her nose told her the truth with incredible accuracy.
In a tight spot because of a transgression? Better just confess it and fall on the mercy of my mother’s court. All of her five children learned at a very early age that honest confession brought much less trouble and far less severe punishment than trying to worm your way out with a lie. I don’t think I ever tried it more than once. Maybe twice. Punishment was quick and sure. (As was forgiveness following the pain.) And if that little woman ever dreamed of saying, “Just wait until your father gets home,” I assure you, I don’t remember. Mom handled the situation.
My mother believed in compound interest regarding souls. She loved us fiercely and was not willing for her children to learn to twist their souls with lies and thus grow up to be Liars.
We can do the spiritual math by acknowledging the honest truth that this works with lying, unfaithfulness, bitterness, resentment, hatred, greed, arrogance, etc. If we begin by playing with such and allowing them into our souls, we can end up “compounding” the problem, shriveling our souls and, yes, we become hurt and hurtful.
Ah, but let’s end on a high note. Spiritual compound interest can also make us rich in the only ways that really matter. If we choose to ask for our Father’s help to be loving, merciful, forgiving, honest, faithful, generous, etc., trusting our souls to the Lord of all joy and beauty and real life, you can bet your eternal life that his Spirit working within can “compound” the health of our souls in amazing ways.
We’ll never make a better investment than to trust our souls to the One who wants more genuine spiritual blessing for us than we could ever imagine.
That’s the truth. Count on it.
Copyright 2021 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.