Put a Penny in your Pocket

And make a deal with God - an Inspire Me Monday Post

My dog tugged on the leash as I looked down at the tarnished penny in the road.  Should I pick it up?

Is a penny on the road a sign from God? Maybe if it’s needed.

“Put a penny in your pocket, and save it for a rainy day.” My grandma’s green eyes sparkled as she picked up a penny and slid it into her pocket.  I raced ahead across the parking lot, as I often did, to check the newspaper coin return for quarters.  It was our ritual.  Any time I walked with Gram, we checked the coin return in telephone booths, candy machines and any change found went into Gram’s pocket.  She sang that little ditty from her childhood, but she always grinned at me and added, “It’s for investment. God and I have a deal.”

Gram was always collecting for “investment.” 

A quarter lost in the parking lot.  A tip earned from her job at the bakery.  A penny abandoned on the sidewalk.  Change left in the washing machine.  Often I wondered how much these little offerings could possibly contribute to the needs of the world, but those thoughts never stopped me from helping.  Gram had a way of making it fun and it was our special thing, along with writing silly poetry.

One day I asked if she really thought her investment money made a difference. 

Her eyes grew serious and we sat together on a park bench while she reminded me that God didn’t really need our money, but He did need that commitment from us.  She said any chance we have of helping Him by serving others is our way of showing Him our love and trust.  And then Gram told me how much investment money she had turned in the previous year.  My eyes grew wide – I had no idea her quarters, dimes and pennies added up to that amount. 

But over time, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I often found coins when I was with Gram and they were for investment. 

I rarely found coins when by myself.

Hmm.  I wondered – was that God helping Gram with her investment?

After all, Gram had told me, she asked God for lots of things, and this was the thing that she did for God.  It was kind of her deal with God – whatever she found, was His.

I picked up the tarnished penny and placed it in my pocket.  My dog tugged happily and we continued our walk while thoughts kept running through my head.

I’ve asked God for a lot in the last few years:

·         Our son to be healed from leukemia

·         Safety for our oldest daughter in Guatemala

·         Our middle daughter to be able to attend the college of her choice

·         A job to work out

·         Safety on long daily commutes

·         Prayers for our mothers

·         And many other things that came and went in my life

Yes.  I made a lot of requests of my Savior.  And while I know He doesn’t mind, I began to ponder what I’ve given Him in return.  Sure, I teach about Him daily, I’m privileged in my job to be able to do that.  I sing to Him a lot.  I pray a lot and I give thanks many times a day.  It has been my delight to go on many mission trips, but those are so fun for me, I don’t really believe they’re much of a sacrifice.

My dog joyfully raced around me in circles as we cut through the park and out onto the road on the other side.  As I bent to fasten her leash once again, something bright and shiny glistened in the sun in the middle of the road. I checked for cars and led the dog into the road.  I grabbed another penny and slid it into my pocket with the first.

Yes, God.  You’re right.  I need to be more intentional about looking for ways to give back.

“Put a penny in your pocket” chanted in my head as my steps turned toward home.  Two cents wasn’t going to change the world.  So far, I didn’t have enough to even warrant me sending it to my church treasurer, but the conviction grew in my heart.

“I’m going to do it, Gram,” I whispered.  “I’m going to keep up your investment project.”  I don’t know why I haven’t done so before.

My dog danced on the end of her leash as we cut through the shortcut to my street.  Right in front of my house, wouldn’t you know it – a third penny sat waiting for me in the street.

My blue eyes sparkled as I slid the penny into my pocket.

God and I have a deal.

With God,a pittance can be huge.


With God, a penny goes a long way! #inspirememonday #blessedbutstressed Click To Tweet


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  • Carol, so often I find myself inspired by the stories that you bring here. It’s true that God works in the midst of the smallest things. There are no inconsequential moments!

    • Thank you Michele, I appreciate your kind words!

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  • Meghan Weyerbacher

    What a great offering up to God. This is so sweet that you would take it over too!

    • My Gram was a sweet soul and I miss her dearly. It seems like a simple thing to do.

  • My husband found a dollar bill on the ground last week at a public housing complex we were visiting. I was proud that he put it back on the ground for the next person instead of in his pocket. 🙂 He was investing in the next person who would need it a lot more than he did. Thanks for sharing about your Gram, Carol. Those kinds of lessons stick with us.

    • Oh true – I guess we could leave it there. Either way, I guess the point is not to be selfish. 🙂

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  • Julie Loos

    Carol- I love this lesson from your Grandma. I usually just leave the money I see, but now I’m moved to share in what your Grandma taught you!
    Beautiful post and sounds like an amazing Grandma:)

  • JeanneTakenaka

    Anita, I LOVE this thought. The idea of being intentional about giving back to God is profound to me. Like you, I give back through my writing, through worship, through daily living, but I love the idea of being intentional about investing with what He gives (as in coins on the road). Great thought!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Carol, I loved this post, and I am so sorry to be so late in commenting.

    One thing I did, when I could still get out, was to put ‘found money’ into a jar to be given to our local vet to support charity cases.