17 Jan 2015
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were going into a store to do some shopping. Her idea, not mine. Halfway to the door, I noticed a penny on the ground so, being who I am, I bent over to pick up the penny. It is a habit I picked up the day I was born.
“What are you doing?” My wife gasped, thinking something was wrong.
“I found a penny and I picked it up. Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers.” And I threw a smile in her direction.
She looked at me and said, “What in the world did you do that for?”
“You know what they say, a penny saved is a penny earned.”
“It’s just a penny. What in the world can you do with a penny?”
As I stuffed the penny in my pocket, I looked at her and said, “I can stuff this penny in my pocket.” Then I gave her a sarcastic smile as wide as the Grand Canyon, but not quite as deep.
She sadly shook her head as we went into the store together. I, one penny richer and smiling all the way. Pennies usually have that effect on me.
I know a penny is not worth that much. I just cannot resist picking up a penny I find on the ground. I guess it is that Pennsylvania Dutch attitude I was born with. I never saw a penny I did not want to pick up.
I can remember many a time at a checkout counter I was one or two pennies short and had to break a $20 bill. You know what it is like to break a $20 bill? So, I try to have a little backlog of pennies for just such emergencies, hoping I will never need them.
Do not let this get around, but on my dresser in my bedroom is a jar full of pennies. I found them here and there. One time I remember finding 17 pennies on the ground in one spot. What a great day that was.
My wife is always kidding me about this and when I am in some kind of meditative mood, or so I want her to think I am, she will direct this to me, “A penny for your thoughts!” I only look at her and smile, the temptation is there because I can always use another penny and how many thoughts are really worth a penny? Especially mine.
Then a strange thing happened. We were home watching the news when the story of the day was somebody auctioned off a penny for 2 ½ million dollars. If you do not think that got my attention! Just one penny brought all that money.
I know right here I would sell all of my pennies for half that amount. Anybody looking for a bargain? After all, I am not really greedy.
I looked at my wife, smiled broadly, and said, “A penny for your thoughts!”
“Who,” she finally said in a disgusting sort of tone, “would pay 2 ½ million dollars for one penny?"
“I don’t know,” I retorted, “but I know who would sell one for 2 ½ million dollars."
She glanced towards the bedroom where my pennies were at I said, “Don’t even think it.”
Then we both had a good laugh together.
As much as I appreciate pennies, I am not going to go crazy about their value. I know a 2 ½ million dollar penny is old and has quite a bit of history behind it, but it will be a long afternoon in the shower when I’m going to believe it’s worth that much money. Who in the world put such a value on a thing like that?
I remember my father taking me to auctions and it always amazed me how much people would pay for some things. They get so excited in the bidding and trying to outbid somebody else that oftentimes they would pay twice as much as the object was really worth.
I remember my father would always say after some outlandish bid, “I sure would’ve loved to have sold that to that guy.” Then he would stare out into space a little bit thinking about that whole idea. He always wanted to be the seller and not the buyer.
Then my wife hit me with a difficult question. “Is there something you would never sell for 2 ½ million dollars?"
What a loaded question. I am not even sure what 2 ½ million dollars is worth! I have never seen that much money in my whole life and probably never will. But some people have put value on certain things and are willing to part with something if someone comes up with the right price.
People put value on things that really are not that important. An old penny worth 2 ½ million dollars cannot be used for anything practical. What can you buy with that penny? What is that man going to use that 2 ½ million dollar penny for? Just look at it?
I think Solomon had the right idea when he wrote, “For wisdom isbetter than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it”(Proverbs 8:11).
Some things in life you cannot put a price on, it is a joy to discover those things and sometimes those things are people.