Being more than just a penny

This week’s tip is something I started several years ago.  It’s super effective and can be as simple or as creative as you like.  I post key scripture all over the house.  First I wrote it on pretty scrapbooking paper.  Then, when all the picture editing apps became popular, I would put those scripture over top of a nice picture then print it out.  Here’s an example of one by my refrigerator.
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So at church on Sunday one of our sweet church members gave a precious donation to Reagan’s project, Hands 2 Haiti.  It was a coffee can FULL of coins.  He was SO excited.  He’s the kid who thinks a handful of coins is worth more than a $20 bill because there’s more there…and it makes more noise.  🙂 He was so happy.  My dad was sitting at our kitchen table as we were sifting through all the coins looking for Alabama quarters when the thought struck me about where the money in my hands had been.
The penny I saw had 1953 on it.
Where had this penny been?
Whose hands had this small piece of money been in?
Had my mom spent this as a young nursing student?
Could my dad had handled it when serving in the Navy?
It could have been slipped in to the loafers of President Kennedy for all I know.
Had it traveled to all 50 states before ending up on MY kitchen table in 2015 to be used to dig a well in Haiti?
It’s a possibility I suppose.
I do know that this penny, having been born in 1953 had a history.  It had a story.

Then the deeper thought struck me.
Dear GodWe are like these coins!

We as humans all have a history, a story, baggage.  Some, more than others, but a trail nonetheless that leads us from where we started to where we are now.  That trail, good or bad, has made us who we are today.

When I went with the middle school to Washington DC, one of our last stops was to tour the Smithsonians.  We stepped off the bus and was immediately welcomed by the biting March air that was so cold I thought for sure it was in an extraordinarily bad mood.  We walked down the sidewalk and my eyes scanned the curb to a nice looking young man with a sign propped up in front of him.  In 5 seconds I learned that he was a vet, hungry and had no money.
Honest to God, he was no more than 25 years old.
How could this happen?  Where was his family?  What brought him to this point in life?  What had he seen, experienced and known in his service to the military that resorted him to begging on the streets of a city that has the largest per capita income…in the country.
I suddenly wanted nothing to do with this trip I was on.  Instead I wanted to sit down with him and find out his story.  Was he a big brother?
Was he a star athlete in high school?
Did he love Jesus?
What brought him here?

My heart was shattered in a million pieces as I tried to figure him out.
Thousands of people walked by him in the freezing cold air without so much a glance.
I kept walking too.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget him.

Our church has an outreach ministry called “Clothed in Christ” and each week they do an amazing work handing out clothing to the needy of Ashland.  One Tuesday a month they hand out food and I had the pleasure one morning to help out.
The people.
Dear God, the people.
There are SO many people who are hurting in our own town.
I talked with them as they were “checking out” and one lady in particular just punched me in the gut.
Curta, the lady who was taking people’s information told me the lady’s name and a little bit about her.  The part that struck me the most about this small framed, thin lady was that she was a prostitute.
A prostitute, people.
Blocks down from where the Christmas parade runs, and we see our allergy doctor and get food from Capt. D’s…there are prostitutes.
I was melting inside looking at this once vibrant woman who had become a complete shell of nothing due to abuse to herself and mistreatment done by others.
Again, where was her family?
Why and how did this become a way out for her?
More importantly did she know that she was loved and adored and lavished on by the God of the universe?
That as she lays in bed, probably next to a greasy man (one God loves as well…) who just paid her to have sex with him, God is looking down over His daughter and singing.
His heart is broken for her.
There was nothing I could do for her.
I wasn’t much different than her though.
I certainly was no better than her.
Christ’s sacrifice was for the both of us.
While I’ve never sold my body for sex, I have sold myself for other things that are not God’s will for my life.
I’m desperate to know her story.
Maybe one day I’ll find out and tell it.

In essence, the shiny penny I held in my right hand was worth 1 cent just like the penny in my left hand that was blackened with rust and had old gum stuck to it.  One isn’t more valuable than the other.
They, just like you and me all had a story to tell.

So.  What is your story?
The story, regardless of good or bad, has value.
That value comes from the Creator.
Which means you are worth more than all the pennies in the world.

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