A penny is more than just a penny

With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full.  Proverbs 8:18-21

“Good morning,” Mark said energetically as Ruth approached him from her car.

“Well someone’s in a good mood for a Monday morning,” she replied.

“I’m trying something new,” he said.  “Turning over a new leaf I guess.”

“Leaves get blown away by the wind,” she replied with a smile.

Ruth was Mark and Samuel’s first hire.  She was 27 years their senior, and they’ve known her since childhood.  She taught them in grade school, and over time, she’s become somewhat of a second mother to both of them.

“Where’s your tie?” she asked.

“Where’s your dress?” he fired back.  “What’s with the pants suit today?”

“Guess you can say I’m also trying something different,” she said.  “Now go put on your tie.  It’s nearly 8.”

“Ruth,” Mark said.  “How do you like working here?”

She was now behind the white marble-topped counter; her daily post for 6 years now.  Sitting her bag down, she glanced up at him over her slim, silver glasses.  “Why are you asking me this?”

“I don’t know, Ruth.  I just want to know,” he said.

Ruth placed her hands on her hips and looked up toward the brass chandelier hanging in the center of the room.  A few seconds passed before refocusing on Mark.

“I’ve always loved you boys.  I just knew you two were gonna make something of yourselves.  And look at you.  You’re doing it.”

“Wow,” Mark said.  “That was really nice.  We couldn’t do it without you, you know?”

They exchanged smiles.  Mark turned and began to walk away.  “I’m not done,” Ruth said.

Mark stopped and turned to face her.  “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said.  “I didn’t mean to…”

“I also love money,” she said.

“Well, who doesn’t?” Mark said, returning to the counter.  “It’s the best thing in life.”

“I beg to differ,” Ruth responded.  Mark just looked at her, caught off guard.

“Money is whatever we want it to be, Mark.  If we want it to be bad, it will be bad.  If we want it to be good, it will be just that.  When I say I love money, what I mean is I love what it can do for people when people use it well, when they use it to bless others.  I also hate it, and the entire time I’ve worked here, believe me I’ve learned to recognize those who use their money well and those who are completely controlled by it.  It’s so sad to me.”

Mark was now leaning on the counter with his chin resting on his hand.  He was listening intently.

“And to be very truthful with you, you worry me,” Ruth said.

Mark perked up.  “Why?” he asked.

“Because of comments like the one you just made,” she replied.  “Money isn’t the best thing in life.  It what’s we do with it that makes life grand.  Have you ever wondered why ‘In God we trust’ is imprinted on all our money?”

“Sure,” Mark said.  “It’s the official motto of the U.S.”

“True,” she said, “but there’s more to it than it, I believe. Did you know the Bible has more to say about money than love?  And so many of those verses talk about why you should avoid debt, worshiping money and how money turns people from good to bad.  Don’t you think it’s possible it was decided that ‘In God we trust’ should be on every coin and bill simply to remind us to use that penny or dollar bill as God intended?  Do you think it’s possible they were trying to help people not lose sight of what’s really important?”

“Wow,” Mark said.  “No, I’ve never thought of it that way.  Wow, Ruth, that’s pretty remarkable really.”

“I’m glad you think so,” she replied.  “

“So, why haven’t you ever told me about all this before?” Mark said.  “I had no idea.”

“It just never came up I guess.” she said, “but while we’re at it, there’s more I want to talk with you about after closing.”

———-

As a leader, do you help your team understand why your work matters, besides making money?

Do you or have you ever considered helping your team manage their money to help them reduce stress and improve their lives? You could change their life.

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