Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A penny for my thoughts

Move over, Bill Gates and Benjamin Franklin! Their money-making inventions are pretty good, but I've got 'em beat. Their ideas required too much work and waaaay too many risks (i.e. lawsuits, lightning). Wait till you hear my innovative (and safe and easy!) strategy to pull in the bucks hand over fist. It is simply this: take a walk.

Sounds too easy, right? Ah, but the proof is in the pennies. This photograph shows eleven pennies and one dime which I found while doing that very thing. What makes this impressive is the fact that I collected the fistful of coins in four different locations in a total of approximately twenty seconds throughout the last four days. With that kind of a return, one could make $32,000,000 (that's 32 million, kids) in one short year! The only overhead would be the twenty pairs of shoes you'd go through.

I only wish dimes and quarters showed up as often as pennies. I mean, when was the last time you saw a Sacajawea golden dollar lying in the gutter?

Seriously, though. Twenty-one cents/four locations/four days is pretty good. I challenge my own mother to top that. She's the one who taught me the skill of finding dropped coins. Years ago, I coined the acronym (pardon the pun), LFM--Look For Money. "Don't forget to LFM," I would say to her as we walked the dog or crossed the street. Not that she needed reminding. It's a hobby for her. During every stop on road trips, while Dad was filling up, the rest of us would tumble out of the car and scour the parking lot for that promising glint of metal. I was often tricked by the rusty bottle top or the video game token. Not Mums. Her practiced eye was rarely fooled, and seldom did she return empty-handed. Until now I thought she was unbeatable. (Until now. Wha-ha-ha.)

Of course, now I'm grateful for this parental quirk. It's paying good dividends--all of which are being collected in a jar, to be counted and turned into the bank when the jar is full. (That, too, I got from my mom.)

More than the financial reward (mediocre at best, I admit), I love the thrill of finding a penny. Green and nicked though it be, it's a treasure. It means I'm richer than I was a moment ago. It means something worthwhile that was lost is now found. There's a parable like that, which my Savior told, recorded in Luke 15:8-10. He explained the meaning in verse 10: "In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." That thrilling truth is the essential motivation behind any endeavors to share the gospel. It's why I'm here in Utah. Even one lost person would be worth all the work, time and investment. I often fail to remember that--until I catch a glimpse of a dull round object near the curb. Though many would walk right on by, I stop, smile, and pocket the coin. Even a penny is a treasure.