Recently my wife and I were walking and a Lamborghini drove by. She asked, “If you had the money, would you ever buy one of those?” I told her I didn’t think so, but I do think they’re pretty awesome. I like to think I’d be like J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans. He makes over $15 million a year, but doesn’t drive a car like that. He said that whenever he gets the itch to drive one, he just rents one for a weekend and takes it back. The truth is, if you don’t make that kind of money, it’s hard to know what you would do with it. Would you buy a mansion? Would you drive expensive cars? Would you throw parties all the time? Would you try to eradicate poverty? Would you fund housing for the homeless? Would you support missionaries with your excess? It’s easy to give these answers when you don’t have it.
Jesus told the story of a guy who was in charge of his wealthy boss’ affairs. When it came out that he was skimming and squandering the boss’ money, he got called on the carpet to give account of how he had been managing his money. Knowing the gig was up, he decided to make friends with the boss’ debtors. He started cutting what they owed down in order to recoup the things he lent out. The boss commended him for doing that, not because he had cheated him, but because he was thinking of his future and was doing things to make sure he would be taken care of in unemployment. Then in Luke 16:10, Jesus said, “And I tell you [learn from this], make friends for yourselves [for eternity] by means of the wealth of unrighteousness [that is, use material resources as a way to further the work of God], so that when it runs out, they will welcome you into the eternal dwellings” (AMP).
The very next verse is our challenge no matter how much we make right now. Jesus said, ““He who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little thing is also dishonest in much.” No matter what you make right now, are you being faithful with it? Saying, “If I had the money, I would… (fill in the blank,)” means nothing. If you aren’t making a difference now with what you have, how can God trust you with more money? Each of us will give account to God one day just like the man in the parable. Did we do things with our resources to further the Kingdom? Or did we do things to make our lives exceptionally comfortable here? We are simply managers of the money God has entrusted to us. No matter how you’re managing it now, ask God for wisdom in how to be more faithful with what you have today.
Photo by Travis Essinger on Unsplash
I never want to get to the point in my life that I’m too good or have too much that I won’t bend down to pick up a penny. I especially make sure that I pick them up when I’m going through a difficult time. There’s a lot to learn from a penny when you stop and look at it, but most of us toss them aside as worthless. When I look at a penny, I see things in it that help me through tough times.
One of the first things I recognize in a penny is that it costs more to make a penny than it’s worth. The government keeps producing them because they are an integral part of our monetary system in giving back exact change. There are times in my life when I don’t think I’m worth much. When I think of the cross and the price that was paid for me, I realize that it cost more to save me than I’m worth. I then realize that God sees me as worth it and as an integral part of His plan.
I also see on the penny the words “In God We Trust”. Those words are words of comfort in difficult times. They remind me where I need to place my trust when things are too hard to handle on my own. I try to face each trial in my own strength to prove to God that I can handle it. In reality, I feel the trials and tests are there not to test my strength, but my reliance on Him. In difficult times, I can trust in God.
The president that is on the front of the penny is Abraham Lincoln. There’s probably not another president who went through something as difficult as leading a nation divided by civil war. He relied on God to help him navigate that difficult period. One of the quotes I heard that was attributed to him was, “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.” He knew that God’s plan was more important than anything. I can learn a lot from that.
Another thing that stands out to me on the penny is the date. One of the things I like to do when I see the date on a penny is to think back and remember one thing that God did for me that year. When I recount the blessings of what God has done in my past, it gives me hope and strength that He’ll do it again. God has been faithful in my life. I just need to take the time to remember it. When I do that, my confidence in Him is bolstered and I know with Him I can face whatever comes my way.
I know there’s a lot more on a penny than what I mentioned here. You may not have looked at a penny the way I do. I see a lot of value in it beyond what it’s worth because of what it reminds me of. When God looks at you, He sees the same thing. He sees value beyond what you think you’re worth. He sees someone worth dying for. He sees someone worth spending eternity with. He sees what no one else sees, smiles and picks you up when others have discarded you. That’s what I see when I look at a penny. What do you see?