By Pastor Brad Heintz
As we begin a new year making New Year resolutions and even inaugurating a new president, a question comes to mind. Is it time to stop overlooking a few things? For example, do you ever see a penny on the ground and just walk by it because it is just a penny? At face value it doesn’t seem worth much or does it? I used to think that a penny was only a penny until I heard a story that changed my mind completely. Here’s how the story goes:
Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband’s employer’s home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the upcoming weekend. The boss was wealthy with a fine home on the waterway and cars costing more than her house. The first day and evening went well. 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 man 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,” Arlene thought to herself, “what need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?”
Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. 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 man’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, she thought to herself, 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,” he exclaimed, “read further.”
She asked, “One cent?”
“No, keep reading,” he said.
Arlene then read, “In God we Trust?”
“Yes!” he said excitedly.
Arlene questioned with intrigue. He went on to explain, “And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him. Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, and I stop 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. I am blessed that God is patient and pennies are plentiful!”
I was prayer walking recently through the streets of Seabrook, asking God to bless each household and to help heal our land. I was asking Him, what do you want us to do? At that very moment I looked down and saw a penny! On that penny was God’s answer. He wants us to put our trust in Him as an individual, a household, a community and a country.
So the next time you are out and about and you see a penny… pick it up and may your response be to put your trust in Him. And then drop that penny in the mail to the elected leader of your choice. They may need the reminder as much as we do, “In God We Trust.”
Pastor Brad Heintz is the founding pastor of Living Word Church in Seabrook, a vibrant family-style non-denominational gathering of believers who take a pure, simple and real approach to faith and life.