I remember growing up we had a good friend of the family named Buck. One side business among several he had at one time was an ice cream truck he would drive around town in the heat of the Texas sun, selling lots of ice cream and snow cones to many hot and famished people, adults and children alike. A few years after this story, I would actually be driving this truck for him as a summer job during college.
At the end of his days, he would count his money and balance it out as any businessman would. For the bank, he would have to roll the change into paper rolls to deposit them, for they would not take it any other way. He found pennies, though, not to be worth it, in his opinion, so he threw them into a bag where they accumulated. As I was graduating high school, he considered those would be a good graduating present for me, plus they would be off his hands and he wouldn’t have to count or roll them. I would have that problem, which I gladly took with thanks. After taking them home and rolling them and counting them, I took them to the bank and exchanged them for paper currency, and headed to the mall to see what I could buy for my graduation present from Buck.
At the mall I purchased a nice digital watch, which was brand new technology in the 1977, I drove up to our family business, where he worked for his main job, and proudly showed him and my mother what he bought me for my graduation. He seemed a little shocked and asked how much the watch cost. He seemed a little beside himself when I told him the pennies totaled over $80 and that more than paid for the new shiny technology on my wrist.
At that point it became clear that if he had realized the pennies had added to that much money, he would’ve had it counted and given me a lesser amount, more like $20. I remember asking my mother if I should take the watch back and give him his money back so he can rethink and re-give his gift. There was no doubt Buck loved me almost like a son and his wanting to give me a gift was genuine, but his attitude toward money was always clear. Mom’s response to me was “No. He should learn from laziness of not wanting to count and roll the pennies he guessed would only add up to about $20.”
Ever since, I’ve always stopped to pick up pennies. I’ve always remembered the phrase, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” At both, I remember this experience with Buck. I have realized how pennies can add up and how they can become a blessing for rainy day when funds elsewhere may be tight. Or how they could be a gift for someone else somewhere down the line, passing a blessing as Buck did for me, only I won’t go into it blind.
Recently, however, a new perspective to stopping and picking up pennies changed everything for me on this. While the result may still end up blessing someone else as mentioned above, I’ve learned that God can still use these little copper tokens to remind me of His blessings for me.
It came to my attention that embossed on every regular U.S. coin are the words, “IN GOD WE TRUST.” I had always seen these words, but now they had meaning. These words beg the question why do we trust God? It all comes down to why do we trust anyone? We trust anyone who is true to their word, who keeps their promises. Somebody much more learned and patient than I (Max Lucado) has determined that there are over 7400 promises of God in the Bible. And we know He always keeps His promises.
Ezekiel 12 (NIV) 28
“Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
1 King 8:56 (NIV)
“Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.”
Romans 4:20, 21 (KJV)
“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith [believing] giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised he was able also to perform.”
Malachi 3:6 (KJV)
“I am the Lord. I change not.”
So every time I see a penny, nickel,
or other coin on the ground,
I consider now that God
has put it there to remind me
That “IN GOD WE TRUST,”
That He is always there, and
He always keep His promises.
This little token serves as an unexpected special blessing, sometimes at the end of hard day when nothing went right, or to begin a day to get things started on a great note. But regardless of when it happens, I feel a sense of peace rush through my heart and soul, followed by a smile that sneaks out the corners of my face because I am reminded He is there. At that moment. In that place. He knows if I need that blessing whether I do or not. Sometimes maybe it’s just a blessing for no reason at all. I love doing that for those I care about so, since I believe He is much more loving than I can ever be, I think He probably does that for us at times.
In the future, if I give a bag of pennies or coins as a graduation gift, it won’t be because I was too lazy to roll or take them to get them counted and turning it over to someone else to do. I would see it as passing on all the blessings God had given me, day after day after day, to someone else as a huge, single blessing to them. It would be in hoping they will learn to recognize the little tokens of blessings in each day of their lives, being reminded that He is forever there with them, through all of the good and the bad…
and He always keeps His promises.