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Five Pennies or One Quarter?

By Ginny Dix


Everything written about reaching goals says the same thing, "Set your goal, decide what it will take to reach your goal, break this down into small, manageable steps, get started right away on step one, climb through each mini goal, and soon you have achieved your major goal."

Apparently, God has not read any of those articles. At least, that's not the way He works with me. I set a goal I know will take me to what God has called me to do, break it down into steps, start with step one, and before I know it, I am making no progress at all. I am nowhere near what I started out to do and declare I am sliding backwards. How can things go so wrong when I am working so hard to stay right?

The answer is Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV):

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."

Those are comforting verses, but how different can God's point of view be? Shouldn't I be able to see at least a little bit of progress?

Then I remember Scott. When I was a kid, I did a lot of babysitting and really liked it when the kids came to my house because of my little brother. He was not much older than the kids I sat for, and would play with them, saving me a lot of work.

One day I babysat for four-year-old Scott. While playing together, he and my little brother found treasure: five pennies and one quarter. They decided to divide the spoils, so my brother generously gave Scott the quarter and he kept the five pennies. I was proud of my brother for his sacrifice, but Scott wasn't happy. He cried and said we weren't being fair. Between sobs, he made it clear he thought we were cheating him because my brother got five coins and Scott got only one.

We tried to tell him that the quarter was like having twenty-five pennies, so he was getting the most out of the deal, but he didn't believe us. No amount of explanation, mathematical theory, or flow charts convinced Scott he was coming out ahead.

He was no fool. He could see with his own eyes that five coins were more than one coin, so who did we think we were kidding? Give him that choice today and he would choose the quarter because now he understands that, no matter how it looks, one quarter is more than five pennies.

Like Scott, I look to the natural and I'm disappointed. I can't comprehend that there might be another viewpoint, God's divine perspective. The spiritual can be as inconceivable to a mortal mind as one coin being worth more than five coins is to a four-year-old child's mind.

All we humans can do is believe that reaching goals in God's eyes is not like reaching goals to the rest of us. No matter if every one of our senses warns us we are not getting anywhere, we don't have to worry or try to measure our progress against man-made deadlines. All we have to do is make sure we are doing whatever God wants us to do right this minute. He will take care of our direction and keep us on the path to His success, His way, in His timing. We can trust God because His thoughts are greater than our thoughts, and His infinite ways are beyond our finite ways.

Anybody want a quarter?

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