Give me a word, Lord: FIND A PENNY, AND PICK IT UP

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Psalm 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.

Psalm 62:1-2 I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Find a penny, and pick it up. All the day you will have good luck! I have no idea how many times I chanted this as a child. I can recall my childhood days of shopping trips and huge parking lots. We always scoured the ground as we walked looking for a coin that someone had inadvertently dropped, There was a little rule to this luck game though. The penny had to be heads up to bring good luck…at least that was what we were always told. If it were tails up, the coin was left behind for some other lucky person to find. Oh what a joy it was in finding a shiny coin and putting that coin into my pocket.

Nowadays a penny isn’t worth much at all, but I still catch myself looking to see if a discarded coin is heads up or not. I didn’t realize until recently that the “heads up” part actually has a lot more significance. I read a story about a wealthy employer who had invited his employee and spouse to his home for a weekend. The employer lived a true life of luxury and his vehicles cost more than the employee’s home. He took them out to the finest restaurants, and the employee was enjoying the lavishness of it all. She knew that it wouldn’t last long, and she was soaking up every minute of it. One night, as they were walking from the car to a restaurant, the rich employer stopped for several seconds looking down at the ground. The employee looked trying to discern exactly what the employer had spotted. She saw nothing but a darkened aged penny and some discarded cigarette butts. After a few moments, the employer bent over, picked up the penny, and put it in his pocket with a big smile on his face.

The employee was shocked. She thought, “why in the world would this man of extreme wealth pick up an old discarded penny that wasn’t worth a thing.” It troubled her throughout the meal, and finally, she mentioned to the employer that her child had collected coins and wondered if the coin he found was of some special significance. The man reached into his pocket and pulled out the penny with a smile and told her to look at the penny and read what it says. She read the words, “United States of America.” He said, “not that, keep reading.” Then she read, “In God We Trust?” The man said, “Yes!” And he went on to explain that if he trusts God, then the name of God is holy, even on a coin. He explained that whenever he found a coin, he sees that inscription. It is on every single United States’ coin, but we never seem to notice it. He further explained that when he sees a coin, he stops and prays and places his trust in God at that moment. He picks the coin up as an act of response to that trust, and stated that for a short time, at least, he cherished the coin as if it were gold. He also shared that it was God’s way of starting a conversation with him. He said, “Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!”

I think of all the coins that have passed through my life over the years, and I just let that phrase slip right through my hands with out giving it a second glance or acknowledging the name of God. This story sheds a whole new light on “Find a penny pick it up!” I look around at this beautiful country that God blessed us with, and I recall that we were founded as “one nation under God.” I can’t even entertain the thought of watching the news this morning because it is just another reminder that we are no longer one nation under God. Oh, don’t get me wrong. God is still in charge, but this nation is so divided. There is utter chaos ongoing, and I’m afraid it is going to get much worse. I trust that God has a plan though. His plans are always so much better than anything I could devise in this simple mind of mine. I just get a little impatient at times waiting for the plan to unfold. But then, I am reminded of a simple but significant phrase on a seemingly worthless penny, “In God We Trust.” I think I’ll start looking for pennies again. We need that simple reminder all day every day, and it is written on al of our coins. Place trust in God. The future seems uncertain, but I know my God is bigger than all of my fears. I’m going to trust Him!

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