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Yesteryear’s Memories: The Money Tree



I guess I was about five years old. I was with my mom at the store and I wanted something — probably some cookies. I wasn’t so bold as to demand anything or even whine about it — but I’m sure I made my desires known. She said the thing that I’ve heard so many other times, “Money doesn’t grow on trees!” I didn’t really think about it that much, I just knew I wasn’t gonna get those cookies.

Looking back over the years, I heard the same sentence from other people. In fact, just about everyone received that message at some time. It seems that phrase has been around at least a hundred years. It made me curious about other sayings about money. “A fool and his money are soon parted.” “I’m not made of money.” “Money talks” and “It takes money to make money” are in the same arena. One that really gets me is, “Time is money.” To my way of thinking, if time was money we’d all get the same amount for the same time — but that isn’t true at all. I’ve known people who work twelve hours for less than fifty bucks — and I have a CEO friend who makes $27,000 a week — plus bonuses along the way. If time really was equal to money, you could get money with time — and buy time with money. I don’t know a single soul who could buy a few more minutes with loved ones on their deathbed.

As for trees, they’re pretty cool. You can plant them, and after a while you can pluck fruit or nuts from them. Often, they keep growing back and you can enjoy the harvest year after year. You can trade the fruit for money. You can even get money for the tree — but dollar bills just don’t sprout there. A printing press somewhere made those greenbacks and I think that’s where the problem starts. Back in pioneer days, or even caveman days, if you worked you ate. Whether it was chasing a wild animal for meat or harvesting corn or wild berries, your effort equaled surviving. With paper money, though, it became easier for some to get much more than others by cleverness or conniving.

The Bible talks about money a lot — “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Well, people can kill because of jealousy, or destroy property to cause trouble and it has nothing to do with money. I guess I’d say that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And Jesus got really, really mad at the money changers cheating people in the temple. It sounds like He behaved like a lot of us when someone cuts us off in traffic, yelling and throwing things. Our thoughts about money can sure cause a lot of trouble — it isn’t the money, it’s what we think about it. Back to what I learned about money when I was five. I suppose that has stuck with me throughout life. Money can be hard to get, so we need to use it wisely. I see a lot of get-rich-quick schemes online. ‘Do this and you’ll make $10,000 a week” or “Sit back and let the money roll in” are the recurring themes. My five year old mind still wants that money tree so I can just pick more any time I need it. As wise people advise we should stay away from getting rich quick — but then again, who wants to get rich really slow? I still haven’t figured it all out yet. I guess I still ain’t gonna get those cookies.

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