Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Pennies

One Hundred Pennies

A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” – Job 42:10 (ESV)

Visiting a friend at his family gathering, a young grandson brought smiles to our faces by practicing his new skills in salesmanship on us.

He was selling rocks packaged in snack bags, freshly collected from the river running directly in front of us. His “bargain price” for these rocks was one dollar.

Unable to resist the dimples and charm of this sweet entrepreneur, the adults dug deep for small cash. As we produced dollar bills, we were quickly informed that the preferred currency was coin. Four shiny quarters were better than one piece of paper and one hundred pennies were highly valued. No one cheated the boy, but he would have gladly accepted two of any coin over one piece of paper. Chuckles and knowing looks were exchanged. It was understood among the adults that soon enough, this child would know better.

While thinking about the value of small pieces, a recent study of the book of Job came to mind. The Old Testament recounts the story of a wealthy, admired man named Job whose blessed life becomes shattered into the least valued pieces of human existence. All of his worldly bragging rights were stripped away. His personal property, business resources, his staff, his children and his health were all destroyed through no fault of his own. It wasn't punishment, as believed by his friends. But, as the Bible book of Job explains it was all part of an unknown spiritual war between good and evil (God and the devil).

The life of Job was broken to fragments, yet he continued to pursue God as the One with the answers. His wife instructed him to turn from God and die. His friends insist Job repent of sin. Eventually, Job did receive an answer. God revealed Himself to Job. Job’s response was humility and praise.

Job prayed for the people who blamed him (Job) for his pain. He prayed for the people who blamed God too. When doing so, Job’s life was restored and blessed. He was made whole.

The story of Job isn't the only biblical example of the value in brokenness. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to Earth to make change. The breaking of Christ was for restoration of the whole. It was an exchange.

Told in the New Testament gospels, Jesus feeds thousands by breaking up a single lunch of bread and fishes into pieces. He prays. He breaks. He fills.

Somehow in some way, more are blessed with the pieces. There is excess where once there was insufficient.

The Gospel of Luke recounts the Last Supper in a way that paints the picture of this divine broken way. Jesus addresses the Apostles in Luke 22:19 (ESV). Let’s read that verse: And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Jesus tears his portion of bread into pieces and hands those pieces to the Apostles. Did they remember serving up the bread and fish to the multitudes? Now Jesus is telling them to do likewise. Tearing and sharing and saying, “Be broken too.”

Jesus took the pain of the world upon himself. He truly did “carry the weight of the world” on His shoulders.

Job prayed for the men who told him that he deserved his brokenness. He asked for God’s blessing on these men. Job made the exchange by accepting the cost of the wound for forgiveness. Healing was the result.

My life is in pieces. Perhaps yours is too. What would happen if we stopped trying to get ourselves together? What if we, like Job, said a prayer for each?

Let’s say a prayer for the hurting, a prayer for the blaming and a prayer for the angry. What if we, like Jesus, accept the pain of the wounding for the abundant joy of the healing and complete restoration that God gives?

How does a child selling rocks for one hundred pennies correlate to the pain of this life here on Earth? It's about value…about God's kingdom economy. How does God use bad for our good? By using it to show what's of higher value.

One hundred pennies, my friends, is still worth a dollar.

Author Bio:
Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior.

She has a diverse background in business, fitness and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both recovery programs served women primarily from the homeless community.

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She's been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Easily identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she's served, Sharon now sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They have two grown children. Currently, Sharon is writing her first Christian historical fiction novel utilizing her study, experience, and understanding of self-destructive behaviors.

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