We have all seen those liittle penny dishes beside cash registers in convenience stores and restaurants. Need a Penny take One–Have a Penny leave one! We have to have pennies to make these purchases and receive the change but we don’t like to think of them overmuch.
They are the smallest little annoying coin that clogs the zippered coin section of our wallets or burdens our over-laden pockets. The other day I stood behind someone in line at the local grocery store who emptied a whole handful of pennies into such a dish. The shopper was delighted to have the opportunity to shed the weight of all those “worthless” pennies.
Pennies: Often we don’t even bother to count them when we are tallying our cash on hand. How many of us have dropped a penny or two or three and didn’t even bother to pick them up. It wasn’t worth the effort of bending over to retrieve them from the floor! They, in our minds, have very little practical or monetary value.
Lately, I have been running into a lot of people that relate to this “penny” mindset. They may look good, shiny and fine to the folks they mingle with– but when you get to visiting with them there is a deep problem. These are folks who, wandering around in life, have grown to think of themselves as though they were the human equivalent of this smallest denomination of coin. They don’t even see themselves as a shiny new copper penny. They view themselves as a grubby, worn, coin that’s been buried in the parking lot asphalt and somebody spit out their tasteless gum and now they are not only stuck in the tar but they have the sticky residue of someone’s tired chewing gum melting all over them–an attractive recipient for every bit of grit and detritus that blows its way or peels off the sole of every passerby that walks all over them. I’m not trying to be colorful or dramatic. These people really believe in this reflection they have of themselves! Like that lowly Penny they feel invisible, worthless and undeserving. After awhile it may seem too easy to believe the lie that folks will be better off if I am gone; no one cares or will notice. They spend their days thinking themselves beneath notice because they have believed every ugly lie that the World and Satan have ever whispered in their ear.
How did this happen? Maybe some unkind spouse or parent repeatedly told them they were an albatross around their necks or would never amount anything. Perhaps a coach or teacher on a hard day implied that they had no talent at sports, art or writing or math and this seeped into their heart and was believed. Maybe this Penny person still believes the advertising world and sees themselves as fat and ugly and thus, un-loveable. Maybe a learning disability or two has made school a living nightmare and they were/are an easy target for some mean kid to call them stupid or worse. That moniker has ripped for them a perpetually bleeding, open wound. Sometimes ‘Penny people’ live in Mansions and sometimes they live in Ghetto’s. This mentality knows no boundaries. Sometimes the lie is that everybody in the Family Tree has been broke, or cancerous, a worrier, a horse thief or a drunk and therefore I will be/ must be too. Sometimes the opposite may have happened. The lie that they absorbed and internalized is that “no one in my family tree has ever been a victim, addicted, divorced, filed for bankruptcy, had their home foreclosed or been fired from their job”…therefore, If only I hadn’t been so trusting, or a better wife, a more responsible saver. If only I hadn’t made that purchase or stayed longer at work. But, since I wasn’t enough in ‘whatever’ situation, since I dropped the ball, stumbled or made a terrible mistake, therefore, I must be defective and a failure. Now, because of ABC or D- I am marked, a big fat failure: a tar covered “If Only” penny.
Sooner or later we have all had one of these thoughts, or been the recipient of one or two or ten of these Penny Messages. Worse, maybe looking back we realize that we have perpetuated or been the orator of one of those mean and destructive Penny Messages. This is how the world sees, how Satan sees, and sometimes, no matter your age or gender, it is how we have begun to see ourselves. Soon we begin to take up the chant and believe the lies, to compare ourselves to media portrayals, or all those others, that we perceive to not be part of our second-class, invisible Penny Crowd. Without vigilance, it is very easy, even for Christians, to slip into wholehearted agreement with these subtle and repeated messages; and worse, believe that they must stay in that miserable, bleak place! That’s how captivity and enslavement start.( Christians may need to close some doors of legal access to these strongholds before breaking this thinking completely off of their lives!)
Let me just say that whether or not you are a Christian, The Lord does not see you as a Penny Person. He sees you as a Golden Kruggerand. When God Almighty looks at you, He sees you and values you as though you were the Hope Diamond. In Luke 15 Jesus told 3 stories, parables of the one lost sheep that wandered away from the 99 others and the Shepherd held that one as so precious that he left the flock and went beating through the sticker bushes calling for the one precious lost lamb the Penny Sheep. He shared about the woman who lost one of her 10 precious coins and turned her entire house upside down looking for it. No penny mentality there! That was a precious Rare coin she wasn’t going to stop hunting until it was found. The final story in that Triad is that of the Prodigal Son…The Father who stood waiting and rejoiced when his Precious Son finally got a clue and made his way back home. We are His precious treasure. Jesus can never, ever love you more than he does right this minute!
We, not only, need to liberally share this new knowledge with those who are trapped in the pitiful, Penny mentality and let them know that Jesus wants to invite them in to His Royal Family. But, Christians really need to fully embrace what it means to be a Child of God. When we make a decision to accept and come into total agreement with Jesus our identity changes. Now, that we are in Relationship with him as a believer in Christ we have been adopted into the Royal Family of Jesus. Royal identity! Scripture tells us that we are now CO-HEIRS with him. Ephesians 2:6 He has seated us (present tense) together with Christ in heavenly places. He has given us His Kingdom Authority to use in His Name here on earth. We not only have received Eternal Salvation at some fine day when we leave this world with this action. It ought to fundamentally change our perspective and the way we view ourselves and how we operate day to day. We have the ability, right now, to tap into the abundance, power and supernatural fruit that come with the Truth and Life when we follow in the Way. Matt. 28:18-20, Matt. 18:18, Mark 16
This new identity and fresh, magnificent job description was purchased for us with the blood of Jesus on the Cross. No matter what erroneous messages from the world that I have come into agreement with myself or how cruelly others have labeled me; all that dirty penny stuff has been cleaned and covered by the Blood. ( Isaiah 42:7, Isaiah 53:4-5, Isaiah 61, Ephesians 4:7-9 and many more!) I am a totally new person now and so are you! Jesus came to find me as that little lost, dirty sheep. You and I were the priceless, rare coins that he died to save.
There is no more Penny Serenade, He has given me a New name and a New song!
***This is a huge and important study for everyone to grasp. Who are you in Christ? What are you tapping into? I want to give you a goodly group of verses to ponder on as you shed that old “dirty penny” mentality that pops up from time to time in all of our lives. This is by no means an exhaustive list: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Galatians 2:20, Isaiah 43: 18-19, Ezekiel 11:19-20,2 Peter 1:4, Ephesians 2:10, 2 Cor. 3:18