Exchange your gold into men. Buy up some of the kind of coin they use in the homeland, so that you may have some wealth when you get there. Suppose you should be over on the continent of Europe, shopping in Berlin. You buy some goods in a store and lay down upon the counter a twenty-dollar gold piece in payment. The salesman would say, |What sort of money is this?| and you would likely say, |That is good American gold, sir.| And he would probably reply, |I have no doubt that is true, and that it is good money. But it is not the sort we receive here. You will have to go to the bankers and get it changed into German marks and then I'll be pleased to complete this sale.| And so you would be obliged to do if you had not thought to provide yourself with German money.
There are some people that will have an experience like that after a while, I'm thinking. Some one thinks that that is not a very likely illustration. A man going to Europe would provide himself with proper money to use. Maybe it is not a very good illustration for Europe. But how about some other strange lands to which folks go? There seem to be several people who expect to go to a strange country, and yet do not provide any of its recognized coinage before going.
Here is a man who gets through his life down on the earth, and goes out into the other life. Judging by the whole tenor of his life he will attempt to take some of his belongings with him. Indeed so much are these belongings a part of his very life that they seem inseparable from him. Here he comes up to the gateway of the upper world. He is lugging along a farm or two, some town lots, and houses, and a lot of beautifully engraved paper, bank stock and railroad bonds and other bonds. They are absorbing him completely as he puffs slowly along.
And as he gets up to the gateway, the gateman will say, |What's all that stuff?| |Stuff!| he will say, astonished; |this is the most precious wealth of earth, sir. I have spent my whole life, the cream of my strength in accumulating this.| |Oh, well,| the reply will be, |I have no doubt that is so. I am not disputing your word at all. But that sort of thing does not pass current up in this land. That has to be exchanged at the bankers' offices for the sort of coinage we use here.|
The man looks a little relieved at this last remark. The other talk has sounded strange, and given him a queer misgiving in his heart, as he listened. But |banker| and |exchange| -- that sounds familiar. The ground feels a bit steadier. He picks up new spirit. |Where are the bankers' offices, please?| he asks eagerly. |They are all down on the earth,| comes the quiet answer. |You must do your exchanging before you get as far up as this. That stuff is all dead loss now. You can't take it back to the bankers' now, and it is of no value here. Just leave it over on that dump heap there outside the gate, and come in yourself.| And the man comes in with a strangely stripped and bare feeling.
What we get and keep for the sake of having, we lose, for we leave it behind. What we give away freely for Jesus' sake, for men's sake, we will find by and by we have kept, for we have sent it ahead in a changed form.
There will be a strange readjustment of values on the other side. Some men of splendid strength have spent it in accumulating earth's wealth. They give, even freely it seems to be, in very large amounts. Yet be it keenly marked the sum given by these men always bears a small proportion to what is kept.
Others there are of equally splendid strength, and fine powers, who have been spending that strength in influencing men. Their passion seems to have been for men, for men's selves, for men's lives. The great bulk of their strength and time has been deliberately given to this. And some that have not understood have thought such conduct strange, a sort of fad with these men. But when values are readjusted by the standards of the final clearing house, some who have been very wealthy down here will be reckoned among the very poor. And some who have been reckoned poor will be found to be the shrewdest of investors. They will be the millionaires of the Kingdom time and in the homeland. I do not mean dollar-millionaires, but life-millionaires. The standard of wealth in the homeland is lives, not dollars.
And some too there will be, and not few in numbers, who have given of their strength in business pursuits to the making of money, as the Spirit has guided them, or to whom it has been left in trust by others, and who have been steadily investing the wealth that has come in the lives of men. Some folks ought to be getting better acquainted at the foreign exchange desk in the banks where this sort of business is done.
There are a good many banks that make a specialty of this sort of foreign exchange. The great Church Boards, the International Committee of the Young Men's Christian Associations, the American Committee of the Young Women's Christian Associations, the individual churches and associations, and the Bible Societies are a few of the better known of the banks having a large exchange business of this sort.
Their methods of business have been very thoroughly systematized for the convenience of investors. In almost every pew of a church may be found little deposit envelopes, mediums of exchange. There are weekly opportunities for making deposits. And the handling of the money has been so thoroughly systematized, too, that, as a rule, a very small proportion is taken up in keeping the banks running, the great bulk passing directly out to the designated place of use.