What do you do with a penny?

Kids get it. The more I’m around them and the more I dig into the Word with them, the more evident it becomes that they obviously have shotgun on the joy ride to heaven for a reason.

Yesterday was the last day of a 6 week discipleship class for 3rd through 5th graders that I’ve been teaching at my church. The class is about what it means to be a Christian. We explore salvation, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, prayer, bible study, missions and other topics as time allows.

Nothing excites me more than to see a light come on behind those eyes when they connect the biblical dots about Jesus being the Lamb of God sacrificed for us during the communion lesson. Or when they truly understand that they NEED a Savior. Each lesson tugs at the heart of a different child and I always leave being so humbled by the beautiful way that He shows up for just the right child at just the right time. It makes me laugh to think He chose to speak through the mouth of this mule.

Yesterday the kids were learning about missions. We talked about poverty and defined the mission field from within their own homes to neighborhood to city to state to national and finally the global need. Because my experience has been with World Vision, it’s easy to bring real life examples and true stories about how to be involved. NOTHING gets their attention like bringing a dirty pitcher of water in for snack time and showing a video called river of death.

As I related stories of child soldiers and Lopez Lomong, or parents making really hard choices and being forced to sell their kids, or the number of kids dying everyday due to hunger and water related causes, the responses of the kids in my class room were nothing short of Glory. It was such a tender way to break their heart – by using the things that break the heart of God. I could see their little Spirits crying out in disbelief at $5 for a child; I could see their little flesh wiggling in its own uncomfortableness at the thought of eating 2 times in 5 days. I could feel the drying of the throats as we watched the video about contaminated water and talked about guinea worm- and I wouldn’t let them go get a drink. It’s all very hard stuff.

But the thing that wiped me out, was when we were talking about how we respond to our broken hearts so that we don’t get stuck in the sadness. How do we put some action behind our belief that God loves ALL people and we should want to serve them. How do we respond as Christians??? That’s when a little boy raised his hand, and said to me, “here is some money. I want to help!” Then he hands me a penny.

I felt like He had given me the world. He did, and so did he…. A penny. If we look at that with natural eyes we see its small value and ineffectiveness. But if we look at it with eyes of light, then we see the heart behind its power. It’s the difference between a million dollars and not. So I accepted it and fought back tears and now I must decide- what do you do with a penny and all the love and power that goes with it? I’m not exactly sure yet, but I feel like I have the world in my pocket.

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44 NIV)

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