Unity is a concept that has no borders, being advocated by many nations around the world for hundreds—perhaps even thousands—of years. It’s used in the national mottos of over 40 countries. It’s referenced in classical literature and popular songs.
It has an especially prominent place within our country: the United States of America. As Americans, we understand the strength that comes from a united front, and we know that the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Pick up a nearby coin—any coin—and take a look at it. You’ll notice the words, “E Pluribus Unum” (Latin for “Out of Many, One”) which was the motto of America until 1956.
It’s interesting that this phrase about unity is printed on our money, which has been known to cause so many divisions between us! Think about the divorces caused by financial issues; the brothers and sisters no longer speaking to each other because of fights over their parent’s estates; the friendships ruined because of loans that were not paid back. There is also the invisible dividing line between the “haves” and the “have nots.”
For this reason, it is important for us to reevaluate our attitude towards money and possessions. Are we falling prey to the consumer culture of our American lifestyle or are we living a life of stewardship and charity? Taking a step back from the consumerist attitude of our American culture can help us understand what true Christian stewardship is. Once we understand real stewardship, “E Pluribus Unum” begins to make much more sense. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to lead holy lives in all areas—even how we handle our finances. Being grateful and generous with our money serves a twofold purpose: One, it helps us become closer to God and two it helps build God’s kingdom here on earth.
In 1 Corinthians 10:17 we read: “Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake in the one loaf.” Regardless of our particular circumstances, we are all united in Christ and we are all called to the same purpose of loving and serving God by loving and serving those around us.
By living a stewardship lifestyle through responsible spending, careful savings, and generous giving, we are much stronger as a united front. By using our money for the good of everyone, we are fulfilling the union we were called to create within the Body of Christ.
When viewed through the prism of stewardship, “E Pluribus Unum” is a very fitting slogan for our money. It is every bit as fitting as is the current motto of the United States and the words on the flip side of the coin: “In God we trust.”