A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
While I was growing up, when you spotted someone who seemed to be deep in thought, it was customary to say to them, “A penny for your thoughts.” But what’s a penny really worth. One cent, or a one-hundreds of a dollar. That’s why it is so easy to dismiss a penny, something of so little value. In fact, the penny, the lowest coin or currency in the United States monetary system, is thrown into a fountain as worthless by some. This story offers a different perspective of the penny, a coin of great worth.
A gentleman from the Northeast tells that several years ago, a friend of his and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband’s employer’s home. His friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with an elegant home on the water-way, and cars in the garage that cost more than her house.
The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband’s employer was quite generous as a host and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so she was enjoying herself immensely.
As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him.
There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the boss reached down and picked up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up? Wow, he must be really greedy!
Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at Arlene. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value. A smile crept across the boss’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?
“Look at it.” He said. “Read what it says.”
She read the words “United States of America.”
“No, not that; read further.”
“No, keep reading some more.”
“In God we Trust?”
“And so, Arlene quizzed with skepticism?”
The boss smiled as he continued. You see, if I trust in God, the name of God is holy to me, even on an old, discolored coin, no matter where I find a coin and see that inscription, I read those words out of respect and reverence. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a note right in front of us, telling us to trust Him? So, who am I to disregard that message?
That’s why said the boss when I see a coin, I stop, and I pray to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient, and pennies are plentiful!
The husband then goes on to say that one day while he was out shopping, he too found a penny on the sidewalk. He stopped and picked it up, and realized that he had been worrying and fretting in his mind about things he could not change. He read the words, “In God We Trust” and had to smile. He then looked up and said, Yes, God, I get the message.
The Bible has a lot to say about trusting God. As King Solomon said: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” But, in keeping with this enlightening story, the one I like is where a young man confessed that what God had to say to him was more precious than thousands of pieces of silver and gold (Psalm 119:72). The question we need to ask ourselves is whether or not we feel the same? So, the next time you see a penny lying on the ground, pick it up, read the words, “In God we trust,” and let God know that this includes you. – Dr. Robert R Seyda