A Sacramento Bee story recently reported that the Tooth Fairy is feeling no ill effects during the recent economic downturn. Many children are willing to suspend disbelief in order to ardently believe in her. Why? All she does is give you money. Who wouldn't believe in that? Adults do the same thing only in reverse.

There is nothing more insidious than a belief that something worth having requires no investment to acquire it.


That's why I have a problem with the Tooth Fairy - that and the fact that my 6-year-old's toothless mug has cost me a lot of cash lately.


A Sacramento Bee story recently reported that the Tooth Fairy is feeling no ill effects during the recent economic downturn. The Bee reported that children received an average of about $3 per tooth from the strangest mythical creature ever. Seriously, the Easter Bunny makes more sense logically than the Tooth Fairy.


But many children are willing to suspend disbelief in order to ardently believe in her.


Why?


All she does is give you money. That tooth was going to come out anyway. This tooth collector comes around and grabs a tooth you didn't want anyway and leaves cash under the pillow.


Who wouldn't believe in that?


Adults do the same thing only in reverse.


They give their money to promises of great things that require very little sweat equity or lifestyle modification from them.


So many people go to churches that tell them no matter what they do, God is far too friendly to ever have a problem with it. And, by the way, for every dollar you give to the ministry, you'll get a gazillion in return.


That probably won't happen. But it sounds good, right?


I just have a real problem with God as a heavenly stock broker.


I believe in a just God who promised to take care of our needs when we believe in him and are obedient to his commands.


Jesus made that promise in the Sermon on the Mount when he was challenging his followers not to fill their days with worry over mundane things.


"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"


But he never promised to make the birds rich or fat. Their daily needs are met provided they do the work to gather the food that God provides for them.


This problem is also revealed by the billions of dollars spent on diet programs and diet drugs that require nothing other than writing a check and taking a pill to magically erase years of slothful living and overeating.


We want to believe it. We hope it is true.


But hope isn't a strategy.


There's nothing wrong with believing in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus when you're 6.


I just wish more people would grow out of that belief system before they became adults.


Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.