Pinching pennies in a nickel economy
An incident happened this past week that created for me a certain pause to think about things.
I don’t often think about too many things. After all, with only one little gray cell, it is hard to think about things in the plural. “One-thought-at-a-time,” is my life motto. Experience has taught me that too many thoughts at any given time, usually leads to trouble with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.
I was going to pick up a few items at Publix when it happened. I parked in the parking lot as normal, got out of the car and started towards the store. Halfway to the store is when it happened.
Even now as I think about it, I’m a little excited. Believe me; it takes quite a bit to get me excited these days.
Walking towards the entrance to the store, I saw on the ground a penny, which caused me to stop in my tracks.
I do not bend over for anything unless it is important these days. My problem is that if I bend over I will have difficulty in unbending. It has to be something rather important for me to bend down, let alone pick it up.
However, there it was in all of its glory.
I do remember one of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Franklin, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” He was a wise old man and should know about these things.
I would like to amend that quote by saying, “A penny found is a penny earned.” After all, you cannot leave a penny there on the ground all by itself.
Some people would complain that a penny is not worth that much. But a penny is worth one cent. And one cent has value, at least in my pocket.
The formula goes something like this: 100 pennies equals one dollar. 100 dollars equals a whole heap of money.
As I bent down to pick up this orphaned penny, I thought of all the other orphaned pennies that I have collected throughout my life. I make it a practice to adopt all of these orphaned pennies and keep them safely on my dresser.
The penny that I picked up was a little corroded and dirty, but it had the same value as a bright shiny clean penny. Outside appearances do not fool me. In fact, I will take all the dirty pennies you have.
I don’t know if it was my upbringing that caused me to be rather cautious with money. Or, if not having a lot of money throughout life has done the same thing. What I do know is, I am very careful when it comes to money.
Don’t get me wrong. Money is not my god. Some people make a god out of money, which I think is rather silly. Money cannot create a God, but it is interesting that God can create money?
As a young boy, my father taught me this one thing, “Son, if you can’t afford something you don’t need it.” I think he was right about 95% of the time. Then there are those times when I really needed something and could not afford it.
I have tried to save money. I own a small piggy bank that I put extra cash into it as I find it. I try to hide it from my wife, which is never a good thing. If you have been married as long as I have, you will conclude that there is actually no way to hide anything from your wife.
I was trying to save up a little cash for special things that I will leave unsaid at this point. Whenever I got a new coin, I would put it in this little piggy bank I had hidden in my closet.
I almost reached my goal when something happened. I went to get some money out of the little piggy bank only to find it empty. Now what do I do? Do I let somebody in the house know that I’ve had a secret stash in my closet? Do I now come out of the closet?
I figured the best protocol would be to say nothing and therefore not get into any trouble. Well, you know how that goes.
That evening as we were watching a little TV my wife happened to say, “I hope you don’t mind, but I took some of the money out of your piggy bank in the closet to buy some items.”
Don’t mind? Even if I did mind, I really can’t say anything. All I could say was, “That’s okay, I was just saving it for a rainy day.”
“That’s what I thought,” my wife said most thoughtfully, “yesterday was a rainy day.”
At least my money was used for somebody’s good purpose. The thought that danced around in my head was, how long did she know I had that piggy bank in the closet?
So, the penny that I found in the parking lot this week has found a nice residence in my piggy bank, that is, until it rains.
The apostle Paul said it best, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).
Money certainly has its place, but not in the first place where God belongs.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship Ocala, FL where he lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.com.