Why I Pick Up Pennies
8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
We live in an age of super abundance, an age of incredible advancements in technology that gives us the ability to have the very world at our finger-tips. It is even more unbelievably awe-inspiring when we realize what makes all this so remarkable. It’s the same thing that makes Mt. Everest appear to be that highest mountain on earth. It’s the concept that made Albert Einstein one of the most noted scientists in the world: ‘it’s all relative’.
Abundance, (or the lack there of) is a measure of a value system. Abundance can only be appreciated when viewed from its extremes. A child enjoying a meal is a perfect reflection of this reality. When a child is hungry, food becomes the most valuable thing in their world. Regardless of the advances of technology that allow that meal to be prepared as quick as the nearest drive-thru or the quickest microwave until that need has been met the world is nothing more than a barren wasteland. Fulfill that singular need of one satisfying meal and all the food pantries in the United States are of absolutely no value.
Now let’s take that scenario one step further. To an affluent family in the suburbs, when the need of that child is met, what’s left becomes trash and is promptly thrown away. To a family in the inner-city, who struggles to meet the need of that child, what, if anything not eaten at that time is an abundant resource to be saved until needed.
It is in that vain that we find reason as children of God, to rejoice with full voice knowing that God, in his infinite grace has no respect for abundance simply for the sake of abundance. Here we see in scripture the value God places on those who are finally brought into the safety of the strong tower (Prov. 18:10). What is staggeringly remarkable is a truth that is almost unrecognizable as we look at verse 10. Here we have God, creator of all that is created, sovereign and totally complete unto himself is completely unabashed in the presence of the host of heaven at displaying joy simply because one pathetic little sinner is willing to confess (come into agreement with) his sins (rebellion against God) and repent (willfully change one’s behavior) unto salvation through Christ Jesus.
By today’s standards, I could see if it were the apostle Peter preaching as recorded in Acts 2 and thousands were saved at one time, or even such a powerful move of God that daily souls were being saved. It would even be understandable if a preacher would get up and speak eight words and a whole city would be saved as was the case with the prophet Jonah: Jonah 3. (Most of us would be glad if we could keep the preacher to eight minutes let alone eight words.)
This passage of scripture serves as a measure by which we may assess our service in ministry, whether in personal evangelism as an ambassador for Christ (II Cor. 5:20), or as a minister called to speak to a congregation, abundance is not the criteria. The measure is not how many come or how much we speak (I Cor. 14:18, 19), but that we speak to the glory of God and that they come. As also alluded to in this passage of text is that no one is any more saved than anyone else. None of the other nine pieces of silver were anymore secure than any of the rest. The scripture did not rank the pieces of silver, therefore the lost piece of silver could have been any of the other pieces. A very humbling perspective when we look at our own salvation.
I pick up pennies because during this season of advent wherein we celebrate the redeeming work of Jesus our Savior, I am ever reminded that I too was a castaway. I too was worth nothing to anyone and at times not even myself. But I am reminded every time I see a penny lying in the street, in the muck, unwanted, of no value to anyone, that God looked down and as the scripture reveals, not just by happenstance saw me lying in the road, but He purposely went and got a light, (HALLELUJAH!!!) the Light of the world (John 1:9) and sent Him on a mission to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). As the text points out, it did not matter that there were others that were already saved. It didn’t matter how many others were saved, but when He saved me (HALLELUJAH!!!) He, God the Father, the great I AM, was filled with joy and according to His word recorded in the gospel of Luke15, He stood with expectation scanning the horizon waiting, then when He saw me He ran to greet meet me. Not only that but He put a ring of acceptance on my finger and clothed me in a robe of righteousness that all may know that though I was lost now I have been found, and then He threw a party (HALLELUJAH!!!) to celebrate me being back with Him. I pick up pennies lest I forget how much God loves me (John 3:16).
Rev. Charles Young
Associate Pastor, SBCI
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