Our verse for today comes from John 12:5, ” Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor? “
The Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. That means that a common laborer will earn $290 per week when working a standard 40-hour work week. Keeping that schedule for an entire year will earn for that employee $15,080. In 2015, the US poverty rate was 13.5%, which means that 43 million people officially were living in poverty, as determined by the US government. That poverty line is a calculated dollar amount based on the number of people living in the home, and is used by the government to determine which households are to be categorized as living in poverty. The designation does not necessarily measure or communicate the need that a family or household may have, but simply is intended as a statistical measuring stick for the financial condition of the household. Certain governmental aid is administered based on one’s poverty status, examples being Head Start and the National School Lunch Program. So if a single mom working for minimum wage had two kids, she would fall $5,000 short of the poverty line and would therefore qualify for governmental aid.
In the days of Jesus, a common laborer would earn one denarii per day totaling six per week. For the year, that worker would make about three hundred denarii. Having a steady job and making a weekly wage most likely disqualified that person from being considered one of the poor. Although their means were limited, making a day’s wage for a day’s work was probably thought of as a blessing. Our situations are generally slightly better than most. We have a plethora of options from which to choose for ways to spend our money. Income is steady, retirement funds are growing, and needs are being met. Or maybe they aren’t. Or, maybe they aren’t needs. Each of us has to decide how to spend what we have. And, we each justify in some way every dollar that goes out. The challenge is feeling comfortable were we to be audited by the One who gives us all that we have and then spend.
As we seek Him today, make heavenly sense out of the spending of your dollars. Break a spending habit that is less of a need than you tell yourself it is.