(An excerp from my new book)
Walking to the microwave where two pennies lay on top, the thirty-two year old woman picked one up and blew off the dust. It was Copper and its year said 1959.
“Missions.” she said out loud to herself.
Copper knew exactly what she meant.
Having been placed in many, many offering collections over the years, Copper had been counted, rolled, and sent to the bank with other pennies, countless times. Then the little coin was given back to other customers. Over and over the cycle was repeated. As it changed hands through trade, Copper saw many places, partook in events and was privy to conversations that could melt ice.
Ruth’s little song was an old one. Years ago, children used to sing the catchy tune, Dropping Pennies, when they were putting offering into the bag, and adults used to join in deeper voices. Come to think of it, neither Ruth nor Copper had heard the song lately.
The jingle of coins bouncing each other was a wonderful sound that always brought the smiles to the children’s little faces. At one church, a medium-aged boy, Darren, with dimples on his cheeks, used to snap his pennies into the burgundy collection bag, so it could produce the loudest sound. Some children would giggle and others seemed to burn the action in memory as if to try it out. Still others look scared as adults frown them to silence. Copper did not mind being snapped for entertainment.
At another church, flat, white boxes shaped like drums, with red lettering and crosses, were given to each child. Once the box was assembled, a slot at the top allows the pennies to be dropped in. The mandate – Save your pennies and bring it to help the poor. That children’s class was buying a goat for an orphanage in Africa.
There were many Sunday School teachers, but Ruth remembered one lady with a lovely smile, and a yellow dress. With long, golden hair parted on the side, she looked like the angel figurine in the foyer of the church. This teacher told the children the most amazing story of a little coin’s value. It was about a widow who put two small copper coins in the offering. That day, Jesus was sitting in the temple near the treasury, the place where the people placed their offering.
The angel lady had talked about a mixed crowd at the temple. The rich ones dressed in fine clothes made of expensive fabrics were putting in lots of money. Then a woman, not well dressed at all, because she was very poor and had very little money, came and dropped in two copper coins.
The teacher related how Jesus called his disciples and showed them the woman.
“This widow has given more than anyone else here today,” Jesus told them and they looked at him as if to say “Yeah, right!” Then Jesus had explained, “The others gave money but still had lots remaining. This woman gave all the money she owned.”
The blonde Sunday School teacher had smiled and said that small sacrifices of poor people meant more to God than the lavish donations of the wealthy. The little coins like Copper proved a point that the heart of the giver is more important than the size of their gift.
Copper felt like a hero. It was proud to be a one cent piece. It was a really good feeling to know that a copper coin was in the Bible, and is used to inspire people up to the present. Talk about penny power!
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