“Hey Ken, hold on a second, I want you to see this!” Tom shouted as he bolted from the room.
My wife, Sharon, and I had just gotten up to leave. I flashed her a tiny half smile to say, “you’ve been wonderfully patient all evening, now be patient just a bit longer.” She replied with an almost imperceptible nod.
Tom was my best friend from childhood. Sometimes I wonder if I am his only real friend in spite of the fact that he has more money that many small countries. He had invited us to come over to see his latest collection of souvenirs as he calls them. They’re typically items that make museum curators drool and everybody else smile and say, well that’s kind of neat I guess.
Noting his exuberance as he left, this could well be anything -- for Sharon’s sake, I was hoping it wasn’t an actual shrunken head or anything.
Tom bounded back into the room. His boyish excitement could never be quite contained within his custom designed, tailor-made suits. He held a small blue case like a jeweler’s box. His face radiated unadulterated pride.
I noticed he now had Sharon’s full attention too. This must be a ring of some kind, perhaps a humongous diamond.
He set the box down on a table and gently opened it with a showman’s flair. Inside was a hard clear plastic holder protecting a tiny flat bit of metal. I could feel Sharon’s “Huh” boring into me as she politely waited for an explanation.
Tom was ready, “Do you know what this is?”
I had a guess, but was afraid to show the total depth of my ignorance. It was a very small piece of metal, bronze maybe for all I knew, about the size of my little fingernail. It wasn’t round exactly – but roundish. And there was clearly a picture or design of some kind imprinted on it.
Tom delivered the answer with a slow revered tone, “This is the Widow’s Mite. You know how Jesus taught about the lost coin? This is it! This is the finest one that exists. Look how small it is! It even has 20 BC stamped on the back.” I turned it over as Tom exploded in laughter, “well no, of course it doesn’t, but that’s the time frame that this comes from – roughly 2000 years old.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught Sharon’s unimpressed, “I’m ready to go now” thing she does with her eyebrows. I handed the truly magnificent coin back to Tom. It was fascinating to me. I’d never seen coins from that era and they’re not what I thought they’d be like. I thought it was cool. “This is really neat, Tom. What are you going to do with it?”
He gave me an incredulous look, “I’m going to lock it up. It’ll be okay in the safe tonight and then tomorrow, I’ll put it in the vault downtown.”
Sharon and I said goodnight and we left. Later on, I thought about Tom’s coin. I’ve never been a collector of anything. It just seems so strange to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to buy something and then just lock it up.
I pondered on this, wondering why Tom and other people had this bizarre need to acquire things, catalogue them, and store them away. As I reflected on the many one-of-a-kind items that Tom had sought out over the years, a verse came to my mind, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”*
I prayed for Tom that night as I had done many times before that he might discover God’s true purpose for his life. As my spirit connected with God’s spirit, I had a sudden understanding that I had done the same thing.
I had taken the most valuable thing I had, my relationship with Christ, and locked it up. I had hidden it away and protected it. All of my friends are Christians. I only get together with other Christians. At work, people know that I am a Christian to be sure, but I am very careful not to talk about it, because we live in a world of political correctness and tolerance.
I sat quietly for a long time as I realized that my love for God is safe, protected, and locked away.
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