One of my favorite TV shows is the Andy Griffith Show. In one episode the Andy, Aunt Bee and Barney are coming out of church. After they exchange the obligatory pleasantries with “The Reverend” they begin to look for Opie. As with most kids after church Opie was out in the church yard playing with one of his buddies. When Andy finds him he discovers that Opie has traded a horse hair from his lapel for a penny that had been run over by a train.
Because a penny by itself doesn’t have a ton of value, a “mashed penny” surely is pretty worthless, and this causes Andy to ask Opie why he would want a “mashed penny.” Opie’s response is, “I fixed it up and eventually buy something with it one day.”
We usually don’t think much about pennies in our world today. You really have to get a lot of them together in order to really buy anything with them. Jesus tells a parable in Luke 15 about a woman who had ten coins but had misplaced one. She frantically searched every where for that one coin and when she found it she called all of her friends and neighbors to rejoice.
This parable reveal two truths (well actually more than two) that should speak into our lives.
The value of people.
It is clear that the coins in the parable represent people. The parable describes the women moving into three specific actions to find her lost coins; light (a lamp), sweep, and search. No matter how you feel about yourself, your past, or your mistakes in this parable we see a God who loves us and values us. There is no label the world can place on us that can change the truth that we are valuable to God – so much that he fiercely comes after us. His love is fierce!
Followers of Christ have a mission.
This parable reminds the Believer and follower of Christ that our mission to be out looking for lost coins. We are where we are because God loved us and because someone invested in us. Imagine if you had a small bag of 9 pennies. These pennies are safe and secure; you can do really anything you want to with them. The issue is that the group of pennies aren’t really complete because there is a tenth penny out there some where. Who is that penny in your life that God is speaking to you about? In other words, who is close to you but far from God that you can influence for Christ?
This week, my prayer is that we see how valuable we are. If we understand the value that God has for people then that helps us realize that at the heart of the mission of God is those who are “lost” moving to “found.”