In my last post, All-in, I mentioned playing poker for pennies. What’s so special about pennies? Well I’m glad you asked.
In the United States pennies are the smallest unit of currency equal to one cent. 100 pennies equals $1.00. But did you know that it actually costs 2.41 cents to make one penny? Why would the government spend more to make one than its actual value? Because the coin is used in a lot of transactions. Also, take into account that a penny has to be durable and remains in circulation for years, it makes sense.
Thinking more about it, you go to the store and see an item priced at $3.99. Marketing people bank on you mentally converting that in your mind to $3 even though it is just one penny short of $4. You think you are getting a bargain and saving money. So pennies have buying power.
There are many sayings and beliefs that include pennies. Here are some examples.
A penny for your thoughts. Used when you want to ask about what the other person is feeling or thinking.
Putting in your two cents worth. Used as a preface to state your opinion. By only having the value of your humble opinion being worth two cents, you hope to lesson the impact of a possibly contentious statement. It is also used when expressing a strongly held position. So why is it that your “humble” opinion costs more than the thoughts or feeling someone else?
Tossing a penny in a wishing well. You toss one into the water with the hope that your wish will be granted. Germanic people were known to throw the metal armor and weapons of their enemies into water as offering to their gods. Some people believed that the guardians of the well would grant their wish if they paid a price, which would be granted based on how the coin landed on the bottom. Heads up and the wish was granted.
Find a penny and pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck. Some theories are that only when a penny is heads up that it is good luck. Just like in the wishing well example. I was at the store a rooting around in my coin purse for a penny to finish paying my bill. I told the cashier about my post on pennies, and she contributed this to my post. She said she never keeps pennies, but when she gets them back for change, she’ll go into the parking lot and put them on the ground for someone else to find. I told her that she was paying forward “pennies from heaven” and acting like an angel. Which lead me to an opportunity to share about Jesus.
Pennies from heaven. The theory here is that angels thrown down pennies from heaven for you to find on the ground, to show that you are loved and valued. While I don’t believe this is true, it is still beautiful, and God sent down manna from heaven, so who knows? Nothing is impossible for God.
Now while they did not have American pennies back in the day of Jesus, there are stories using small coins in the Bible. In Luke, there is the lesson of the “widow’s mite.” Several wealthy patrons donated large sums of money out of their abundance, just plain showing off. An extremely poor widow places her “two cents” into the offering, and finds favor with Jesus as she gave him her all! (All-in!)
Next is Matthew 10:29 & 31 (NIV) “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than two sparrows.” Sparrows were sold to be used in offerings at the Temple. Usually used by the very poor who could not afford a lamb or goat. The whole sparrow was sacrificed, entirely given to God. (Another example of All-in!) Sparrows also built their nests on the altar in the Temple. Only the priests were allowed by the altar, so I believe God is saying that a bird that costs one penny is acceptable by the altar, and therefore we have value too and He is taking care of us. He loves us so much, he sent His very own Son to be the final sacrifice so we could access and come to the very Throne of God, ourselves!
Now remember the picture I used for this post. The words imprinted on the top of the penny is “In God We Trust.” Further showing the value of a simple penny, using it as a witness that something simple can show us Who we trust in!
So let’s share that message, act like angels, go to the bank, or the jar you use to collect the extra coins from your pockets, and get a about one hundred pennies and leave them around town, face up of course, for others to find to let the finder know they are loved and valued and in God they can trust!
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