I had a bit of a dilemma the other day. I was walking the dog when I looked down and saw a $5 bill. Now, understand, I never find anything of much worth. If anything I mostly find pennies…and I pick those up. Actually, I use to not pick them up until Susan told me the story of some multi-millionaire who said that he always picked up a penny or any coin whenever he found one even though he had no need of it. The reason he picked it up: because of the words “In God We Trust”. Those words kept him grounded, knowing that His blessings all came from God and that his trust was in God, not in money. As a result, Susan and I have a “Penny Jar” filled with pennies that we find, to keep us mindful of our need to trust in Him for all things. Well, that was quite a tangent. Back to my dilemma.
Upon finding the $5 bill I was really happy. I mean, I was really, really happy. (Like I said, I rarely find anything of much value…Imagine if I found a $20 bill!). But suddenly, I realized something: a kid about 10 years old had just walked up the hill right before I found the money. Surely, I thought, it must be his. Now the dilemma. What should I do? He was already out of sight by the time I realized that this money was probably his. If I ran after him…well, I might not find him. And if I did find him I would probably scare him to death. I mean, a stranger running after a 10 year old waving a $5 bill! Thats the kind of stuff parents warn their kids about. I know that we told our kids that if any stranger ever approached them and tried to give them candy, or money or even began to talk with them, they should run away. But, then I thought, why should I go after him? Maybe he needs to learn a lesson. Maybe he is the type of kid who is always losing money and why should I bail him out? Maybe he will finally learn the value of money and I will be doing him a favor. Plus, he is only 10 years old…he will have plenty of years to make up that $5. But then again, I thought…maybe his poor parents had to work 4 jobs just to give him that $5. What if he needed it for lunch and that was the only meal he would have all day? Or how about if it was the last day to pay the $5 for a class trip or class pictures or to sign up for the basketball league? When he realized he was out the $5 he was going to be heartbroken…and scared to tell his parents. And then I thought…where DID he get that money? I mean, how many 10 year olds are walking around with $5 bills? Its not like he has a job or anything. I bet you that kid is a bully…he probably stole the money from some skinny, scared 1st grader. That kid has some nerve…I thought “How do you like it? You reap what you sow!” Then I thought…”What if…”
Now, that may be a bit of an exaggeration but it is amazing how much analyzing goes into such a relatively minor event. And how much faulty thinking, assuming, mind reading and judgmental attitudes pass through our minds when we really don’t know the whole story. Often times, one person’s gain is someone else’s loss. It happens every night in sports. Someone wins…and some one loses. One person’s joy is another person’s sadness. But those are interpretations from a worldly, temporary viewpoint. Romans 8:28 says that “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” In “all things’ means…in all things! Even when we don’t understand it, even when it doesn’t feel good, even when it has the severest of consequences. It doesn’t say that God “causes” all things to happen, or that “all things that happen are good” but that “in all things” He will work them for the good. And that leads me back to the penny. I am reminded to trust God in all things and to trust that He will take my heartaches and my pain, my disappointments and my sorrow..and work them out for good. I don’t have to understand or have all the answers or know every detail of every situation. I don’t have to rationalize every action or make sense of every situation. I have to trust God to do what is right according to His will.
As for what I did with the $5…
What do you think?