The Penny

The other day I was walking out of a store when I saw a penny on the ground. Generally I am in the habit of picking up loose change I come across, but this day I was in a hurry and my arms were full.


“It’s only a penny”, I reasoned, “it’s not worth stopping and getting my hands dirty.” Still, it was money, currency, something of value…


An avalanche of questions tumbled though my thoughts. What causes me to see value in something? What would it take to get me to stop, change my course, and get my hands dirty?


Would I stop if the single cent was clean and shiny? If it was 25 cents? More? How about a foreign currency? What would it take to make me care enough?


These thoughts bored into me with intensity and the more I thought about it, the more parallels I saw with our humanity. We place value on things, not because of the value they possess, but because of what we see in them.


Are we placing worth on people much as I did the penny? Do we stop and reach out? Are we too busy? Are they too dirty? In our rush of days, do we even see them?


As this all came into focus for me, I was overwhelmed with my smallness and God’s greatness and how thankful I am that He doesn’t have the same system of value-placement. How grateful I am that He doesn’t pass by and say: “It’s only one…” He can see beyond the smudged and broken surface to that rare and priceless treasure—so precious that He gave up all heaven to claim it.


Jesus never hesitated to get His hands dirty; He touched people who were “unclean”, He ate with sinners and sought the company of the lowest of the low. Everything He did turned people’s perspectives upside-down and demonstrated the value He placed on the most undervalued margins of society.


This week on Cross Connection, we explore Mark chapter 7. In it, Jesus addresses the question of defilement—and more specifically unclean hands. But Jesus’ response speaks to the heart of the matter. Don’t miss this exciting discussion as we explore more of the depth of love and hope found in the ministry of Jesus.

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