If we keep our eyes down, we can find them on the sidewalk or in a parking lot. We often have at least one in our pocket and definitely in a purse. Sometimes we put them in a tray on a dresser, or toss them in a jar until they add up. They’re pennies.
The shiny ones are, perhaps, on the surface, more attractive. Usually they’re newer, and much less circulated. They haven’t seen too much action, which is why they look so clean!
But the purpose of a penny, ultimately, is to facilitate a financial transaction — to buy, or help buy something.
So while the old, worn weathered pennies might not be as pretty on their surface, we might pause next time we see one and just imagine all the many transactions they’ve been a part of.
Perhaps they brought delight to a child as they got their first gum ball from a penny machine (do they still have those?).
Maybe they helped pay a road toll for someone on their way to encourage a friend or a sick relative.
One of those worn pennies you’ve cupped in your hand for a moment probably had a part in making Christmas special for a needy family somewhere.
Or maybe it helped buy a meal for someone who had not eaten in too many days.
At some point in its life, there’s no doubt that one of the pennies you’ve seen was dropped in a donation box and helped a family afford to stay near a hospital as they waited with a sick child…
Some were probably given by a small child as part of their very first offering to God one Sunday as they began their own journey of faith.
Those weathered pennies could have been a part of all of those things and more. And they’re worn and nicked because they’ve been fulfilling their purpose.
The pretty shiny ones — probably not so much.
One of our purposes as members of the body of Christ is to become a bit more like those worn pennies. This is not to say we want to look like slobs. Rather, we want to care more about fulfilling our purpose in Christ and less about surface things.
If we’re making the effort to be encouragers, givers, prayer warriors, readers and do-ers of God’s Word, mentors, brothers and sisters, and true followers of Christ, one thing is for certain: there’ll be times when we are all going to feel just like those old pennies look—worn out, used up, and just plain spent.
But the Apostle Paul also knew those feelings well. So next time you see an old worn penny, or you just feel like one, let’s encourage each other to reflect on our purpose with his words to the Philippians (2:17):
But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.
PHOTO: “U.S pennies” by Roman Oleinik – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:U.S_pennies.jpg#/media/File:U.S_pennies.jpg