Saturday, October 23, 2021

 The Penny

We all face anxiety and worrisome situations on a daily basis…you know what I am talking about…we all worry.  This past week my daughter wanted to register for a college visit, but the online registration wasn’t working. To an average human being, this is not a cause for 911.  However, my soon to be 18 year old and high school graduate, found herself in a catastrophic moment of despair. 

“Hannah, it is not a big deal…just call the school.”

“I don’t want to call.”

“Why not?”

“I am scared.”

“What!? Scared of what? The fact that you might have to talk to another human being?”

“Yes! Exactly!”

“Call them…they WANT to talk to you…they WANT your money!”

“I can’t! I am afraid!”…(Hannah often tells me that I, “Just don’t understand how hard it is to be a high school student in today’s culture.”  Obviously…I don’t.)

 “That is absurd…send an email then.” I retorted.

“Ok…I can do that.”

Disaster averted.

It is not just the worries of high school and college. The other day I was worried that Sarah would find out that I forgot to drop off the gas bill.  She found out…but it wasn’t as bad as I thought…I didn’t even get punished!

When my son was in the terrifying realm of kindergarten, he came home one spring day and collapsed on the sofa…and did nothing.  This was unusual for such a rambunctious juvenile boy. My wife Sarah, immediately began to worry.

“Isaac, are you feeling ok?”


A similar question rose from her lips a few moments later. “Are you sure you are ok? You don’t seem to be yourself.”


“Ryan…I think that Isaac is sick,” she stated.

“Isaac, are you feeling ok?” I interjected.


He has always been a great conversationalist.

“He says he fine…he’s fine.” I answered.

Well…that wasn’t good enough.  My wife took his temperature.  It was normal.  Still not convinced she gave him vitamin C and sent him to bed early. All the while, I must admit that he did seem a bit out of sorts.

In the morning she continued to check his vitals…namely his temperature.

“There! You see! 99.1! I knew it! He has a fever…He is staying home!”

Moments after I took Hannah to school and left for work…he was miraculously healed!

Until…the next morning…99.1

After, 2-3 days of this same sequence, Sarah was deeply concerned with the pattern and ready to consider the ER, She asked me, “What should we do?”

“Ask him if everything is ok at school.” I offered.

She did, and he immediately broke into tears and wept…“I lost Jimmies penny at the playground! He is going to be mad at me! I tried to find it! I looked and I looked but I could not find it! I don’t know what to do…I don’t want to see Jimmy because he is going to want the penny and I don’t have it…I can’t find it!

“Here…have a penny.”

Disaster averted.

He had literally…worried himself SICK!

But let’s be honest.  We all do the same! We worry about: our retirement, gas prices, politics, toilet paper, food prices, job security, children’s choices, vehicle reliability, calling the college admissions counselor, what do people think of me, maybe this pain in my neck is something serious like cancer, the list is endless…and that’s just MY list. Jesus challenges our hearts once again in Matthew 6:19-34. In this case he is forcing us to confront what we value.  He is confronting us with the condition of our hearts…what is it that is truly important to us.  Jesus wants our hearts to be “for God.” He is drawing our hearts away from meaningless worldly treasures that do nothing but rot away. He is drawing our hearts away from worrying about these rotting valueless items.

May we come to have our hearts transformed into a Heart for God.

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