Lessons From Pennies

In our gathering Sunday afternoon, we had a visit from a sister who had received a specific call on her life. The story was moving and inspirational and I had to share it with you. This was written by one of the other members of the fellowship, and I will let her tell the story:

“The speaker–let’s call her ‘H.’–shared that when God put the calling on her heart to go live in Africa to help children there, there was no option but to say ‘yes.’ Isn’t that how it is with God?

“As she told her story, it became obvious that not only had the Lord put the desire in her heart to forsake all and move, but He also provided for it each step of the way. Everything she encountered (from a confirmation as she started to reveal her plans to providing a buyer for her house and lease on her car that expires the same month she will leave for Africa) was provided.

“She also told a story about pennies that I hope will stay with you, as well. I may get some of the details wrong, but I’m going to paraphrase the story here to share with those that weren’t able to share the time with us.

“As part of preparation for her trip to Africa, ‘H’ has been volunteering locally and took part in a 2-week camp for children in the community. These children are often from broken homes, and many have been neglected and given up by their families. Each day, the pastor would teach the children.

“On one particular day, he was talking about money, and he pulled a penny from his pocket and pointed out that we often encounter them on the street and walk past them because they no longer have any value. Then he pointed out that the words, ‘In God We Trust,’ written across the front of the penny. He told the group of children that each time they encounter a penny, it is an opportunity to remind us to trust in God. And that if we trust in Him, He will provide for us.

“It so happened that over time, several pennies had been dropped around the steps leading into each cabin at this camp. Later, when the children returned to the cabins, they scrambled to pick up these pennies as they now had new meaning for them. One child that was walking with ‘H’ gave her one of his pennies. Recalling the lesson, ‘H’ asked him, ‘What would you like me to think of when I look at this penny?’ She expected him to recite the lesson and tell her to remember to trust in God. Instead, he replied, ‘Me.’ He wanted to know that someone would remember him and think of him.

This story moved me on so many levels. First, a penny, which is worthless in the eyes of the world, reminds us of one of the most valuable things we can remember: that we can put our trust in God. It made me think of all the pennies I have passed in my lifetime, and I began to wonder how many of those were placed on my path to remind me to trust in God. Now, I will think of that, and I will remember ‘H.’ I shared this with her and told her that from now on whenever I see a penny ‘I will pick it up and remember her with a prayer.’

“Today, I had my first opportunity, and I wanted to share it with you.

“As you know, I’ve started running. I’ve been using an app on my phone called the Couch-to-5K program (based on an actual fitness program designed to help people go from being sedentary to being able to run a 5K race in 9 weeks).

“The first week, you run a short distance and then walk a short distance and then repeat, alternating this pattern for about half an hour. Each week, the length of time you run increases while the length of time you walk decreases. Today, I had to run three 5-minute segments with a 3-minute walk between each run. By the time I reached my third 5-minute segment, I didn’t think I could go any further. I started talking to God telling Him that I knew I couldn’t do this on my own but that His word said that we could do anything in Him. I asked for His help. I asked Him to move my legs and regulate my breath and give me the motivation and endurance I needed to get through the rest of the run.

“He was faithful, and He helped me. Pretty soon, I found myself breathing better, my breath regulating, and I was pacing myself driveway by driveway. ‘If I can just make it to the next driveway…’ and then when I reached that driveway, I reset, ‘If I can just make it to the next driveway…’ Before I knew it, the five minutes had passed and my program was telling me to walk for my cool down.

“As I walked back to my house, I thanked God for helping me and getting me through it. I was almost home, and then I spotted it. There on the sidewalk in front of me was a penny. My heart filled with joy as I picked up. It felt as if God was reminding me, ‘See what you can accomplish when you trust in me?’ The penny was reward and provision for my trust. I felt like I had won a gold medal! He showed me that I can trust Him … even when it gets hard, and I feel like I can’t go another step on my own, I simply have to ask for His help, trust that He will give it, and then He will carry me the rest of the way. All of this flashed through my mind as I stooped over and picked up that penny. And then I said a prayer of thanks and blessing for ‘H.’

“I think I’ll be carrying that penny with me from now on as a reminder to trust Him. Interestingly enough, it was a new Liberty penny. There is freedom in trusting God.”

‘H’s” story reminded me of the wisdom Elisabeth Elliot taught: “God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to.”

This is my wish for you, as well. I realize it was a departure from my study on Dust and Stars, but then again, maybe it wasn’t. I hope you can draw encouragement, strength and wisdom from the testimonies of these two sisters-in-the-Lord.

Nickolas

With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.

The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.

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