COUNTING COINS

By Kay Etheredge

It is when I do the most menial tasks that I feel the closest to God.  That’s not necessarily theological but it sure holds true for me.   Sometimes on Friday afternoons, my one day to work at Brother Bryan Mission, I count and roll coins.  Brother Bryan places small offering boxes in different convenience stores around town—the ones you see right beside the cash register—asking for any extra change you might not want to pocket.  Those boxes bring in lots of coins and for that we are so grateful.  But every coin has to be counted and rolled before it can be deposited into the bank.

Money is dirty.  In case you don’t know that, try handling lots of it.  My hands are always filthy and smelly afterwards with dirt even making its way under my fingernails.  It is not a glamorous job, but strangely, I enjoy it.  It is a task where it is easy to see progress and I feel a sense of accomplishment with every completed roll.  And because it is such a banal task it provides lots of time to think.  And along with that comes the opportunity to be quiet and still and isn’t that when the Holy Spirit loves to do His work?

Recently I sat with coins spread out and empty paper tubes in my lap as I sorted stacks of quarters and dimes. My method was count, stack, repeat.  It was rote and mechanical and peaceful.  And then, there it was.  The Spirit’s still, small voice.  He wanted to deal with me about some attitudes that I had allowed to go unchecked.   The name of a relative came to mind and I began to replay thoughts about this person that were not godly.  I thought about a recurring thought I’d had about this person that I thought was comical.   And then the Spirit put His holy finger right on that thought.  As I stuffed coins inside the paper tube He gently said, “Let’s deal with that”.

I went back in my mind to around 30 years ago when this same relative had said unkind things to and about my husband and me.   I had formed opinions that, while perhaps accurate, were not justification for ungodly behavior.  And as the coins clinked into neat stacks in front of me, I confessed.  I released, forgave and said I would try at all costs to stop my jabs about this person, even if they never even knew.  Because even if nobody in the world ever knows, God knows. And that’s really all that counts.

The following week I had an opportunity to run into this person.  Isn’t that how God so often works?  He gives us a chance to put the spiritual rubber on the road.  We always knew this relative to be extremely pretentious and had often commented they would one day get their come-uppance.  When I saw them after my coin rolling experience, I saw that come to fruition.  I was met not with pretension but with raw honesty…their family is a wreck and it is imploding and this person asked me for advice and I was humbled and promised to pray for them and I have.  Sometimes we think we want to see someone fall when we really just want to be on an equal playing field, but even that thought can be prideful.  Author Ann Voskamp says, “Go low, get smaller”.  That is the only attitude we should have as Christians.  Keep going lower; keep getting smaller.

I see the men at BBM learning that attitude every week and it blesses me.  I see men cleaning fingerprints off glass doors and emptying trash cans, mopping floors and washing dishes.  And I know the ministry of the Holy Spirit will do mighty things in them and through them.  He not only wants to redeem them and rescue them from dependency on drugs and alcohol, but he wants to round the sharp corners off each of us…to humble us by taking us lower so we can see our greatest need is for Himself.  And sometimes the best lessons come in the very willingness to be still and quiet and count and count and count the dirty but beautiful gift of coins.

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