A Nickel and Three Pennies

When my daughter was three years old, she got caught stealing from my wallet. Her older sister took a little too much pleasure from turning her in. I had just been to the bank so I knew there were exactly six $20 bills.

When I went to see what she had taken, I expected to see the crisp bills wadded up in her sticky little hands and the contents of my wallet strewn around the room. When I looked at her she had the guiltiest expression on her face you could ever imagine. She was guilty without doubt. Her hands were balled up and tucked into her lap.

I asked her if she had stolen my money and she reluctantly said, “Yes.” 

I asked her to give it back to me.

Her reluctance continued as she slowly unfurled her hand. The $20 bills were not there. My driver’s license was nowhere to be seen. The wallet lay neatly at her side. Instead I saw a nickel and three pennies in her sweet baby palm.

It’s tough to be mad at something so cute.

Why would she take the much less valuable coins when the wallet held much more valuable bills in it? Why didn’t the green bills attract her attention?

The coins were shiny. The coins made noise when you shook them. The coins looked better to her than the paper. In her three-year-old mind, the concept of varying values for coins or bills had no meaning.

I am just like my three-year-old. I am distracted by the shiny things in life while neglecting the most valuable things. I am distracted by the shiny television, the shiny objects money can buy, even the shiny religious traditions. I am distracted by the potential attention or accolades I might get for my work.

Already today I have skipped my devotions. It is a holiday and all my family members are home. I woke up later than usual. The committee on which I am volunteering has urgent work to be done and emails that need to go out this morning.

Just like my daughter I don’t know the true value of aspects of my life. I often fail to properly evaluate the importance or unimportance of my individual concerns.

The urgent gets top priority even if it shouldn’t.

The fun gets chosen over the hard time and time again.

The petty gets top billing in my brain while the deep is neglected.

I choose coins.

I focus on myself, work, home, emotions, and comfort. Meanwhile, I do things like skip my devotional time with God.

So, I’m headed to do my devotions, what adjustments do you need to make today?

Kathy Erickson4 Comments