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Summary: A sermon on the true meaning of giving. The value of a gift is not determined by its amount, but by the sacrifice and spirit in which it is given.

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What Can Half A Penny Do?

"Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins." Mark 12:42 (NLT)

Intro: John Wesley’s Journal---Thursday, May 7, 1741.

—I reminded the United Society that many of our brethren and sisters had not needful food;

many were destitute of convenient clothing;

many were out of business, and that without their own fault;

and many sick and ready to perish:

that I had done what in me lay to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to employ the poor, and to visit the sick; but was not, alone, sufficient for these things; and therefore desired all whose hearts were as my heart:

1. To bring what clothes each could spare to be distributed among those that wanted most.

2. To give weekly a penny, or what they could afford, for the relief of the poor and sick.

This got me thinking about the value of a penny.

You used to be able to buy a piece of bubble gum for a penny…(but not anymore)

Recently at the high school concession stand they charged a nickel for a piece of gum…,

But got tired of fooling with nickels and started selling 3 for a quarter…

I have been at truck stops and saw machines that will smash a penny into souvenir keepsakes…

but that can cost a quarter or even 50 cents to turn the wheel on the smasher…

You might have a jar full of pennies but how often do you see a penny and walk past it…

And think “Oh my aching back…,” is it worth the chance of hurting myself or feeling the sharp back-pain to rick bending over to pick up a penny?

Pennies seem worthless…

Someone said, “You can use a penny to scratch off a lottery ticket to try to win a million dollars…”

We say “a penny for your thoughts,” that can really be worth something…

To share…, to exchange…, to communicate what two people are thinking.

The cost of the Federal Reserve to make a penny is greater than the monetary worth of a penny…

Pennies are not made out of copper any more…, they started making them out of zinc 1982

Lots of people want to demote the nickel and drop the penny altogether…

Today we really don’t put much value in the penny.

We hear people say “A penny saved is a penny earned…”

But a “penny pincher” is not a very nice person..

They are thought of as “stingy”

People say don’t ask them for money…,

they wouldn’t give you penny

or maybe due to inflation is it “they wouldn’t give you dime?”

I “Googled”--what can you buy with penny--

The web sight came up with this message

“Unfortunately, the market dynamics of the past few years have made it impossible for us to continue posting updates on the value of what you can buy for a penny.”

Certainly you can save pennies… a roll of pennies is 50 cents…, two rolls or a 100 pennies make a dollar…

But a “farthing” is two ½ pennies

a “farthing” or what is called a “widows mite” is two half pennies…

So it takes 200 “farthings” ---to make a dollar.

A “widows mite” would be twice the work to make dollar

She would have to save twice as much… to have a dollar’s worth…

She would have to beg twice as long to give a dollar’s worth into the offering or collection plate…

(So it would take 200 coins or widows mite… to make a dollar…)

Jesus sat and watched the collection plate in the Temple and he watched as the crowds dropped in their money.

And he taught this lesson: [The value of a gift is not determined by its amount…,

but by the sacrifice and spirit in which it is given.]

Today a lot of people categorize church into one of two categories.

The first category would be: What do I get out of church?

In other words: What does the church teach me?

What does the church provide in support for my family?

Does Worship service give me strength and encourage me?

Is church a place to fellowship and cultivate community?

What am I getting when I attend church?

The second category would be: What do I give back to church?

I give praise to God in worship.

I lead and teach children and youth and adult classes.

I serve others by bringing food on Wednesday nights and sharing in the potlucks.

I use my gifts and talents to organize and plan the programs of the church.

I give my tithes and offerings to the local church

I join in a partnership with the larger connection of United Methodist churches around the world.

I tell my testimony about what Christ has done for me…,

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