One Cent (by D.A. Cobb)

Shortly after retirement I received a notice from the company that my corporate stock options were about to expire. In order for them not to become worthless they needed to be exercised and fairly soon.

I met with my accountant to plan our tax strategy and with my attorney on how the sale would affect some personal matters. Once everything was in place I phoned the corporate office and gave them the order to sell. Within a week the funds were transferred to my bank account.

I didn’t give the sale much thought until the following month when I received a transaction statement showing I had a credit balance of one cent; yes, one cent. I again called the options department and suggested they charge-off this balance to save handling costs and postage. I was told they could only send me a check so with a shy smile and a chuckle I cashed it at my local bank. Thank goodness the teller had a sense of humor.

I kept the coin on my dresser for weeks until I finally decided to drop it into the offering basket at church together with my regular tithe. I have often wondered what the person counting the gifts thought when finding a single penny in the collection.  Was it placed there as a statement of disgust for that evenings sermon or was it possibly all someone had at the moment?

It reminds me of the parable Jesus told his disciples about the widow’s offering in the Book of Mark.

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts, but a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”

What matters most is the sincerity of the giver not the size of the gift.


Mark 12:41-44    

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