(Image courtesy of http://coinlink.com.)

I didn't realize how prideful and arrogant I could be until my girlfriend and I began getting serious about our lives together.  Now that we are engaged and planning to get married at the end of the year, I am realizing how selfish and arrogant I really am.

Thankfully, God is not done with me yet, even if I fail a million times.  "The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love" (Psalm 103:8).  Because He does not give up on me, I know He will gently teach and correct me, as He slowly but surely rips my pride from my self.

Recently, God led me to the story of the woman and the lost coin, found in Luke 15.  Here is the parable that Jesus shared with those around Him:
The Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Let's pretend that the coin the woman was looking for was a quarter, worth 25 cents.  All of the coins she has, in fact, are quarters.  She loses one and she literally rips her house apart until she finds it.  Couch cushions are tossed to the side, rugs are shaken out, tables are overturned, all in order to find the quarter that she lost and return it to the rest of her stash.  When she finally finds it, she is so excited that she literally throws a party to celebrate her finding her lost quarter!

Opening my mind to understand, God showed me something incredible in this parable.  Let's say each quarter represents a person.  Some quarters are safely in God's pocket, waiting to be spent.  Others are behind the couch, collecting dust.  Still others are under the seat in the car.  And others are lying under the rug in the living room.  Some are new and shiny while others are rusty, dirty, and smudged.  But what does every quarter have in common?  They are all worth 25 cents.

I am a quarter.  I am worth 25 cents.  I am not worth anymore to God than the person next to me.  My worth is equivalent to Billy Graham, just as his worth is equivalent to the terrorist beheading reporters in the Middle East.  To God, we are all worth the same.  No matter what we have done in the past, no matter where our flesh may lead us in the future, we can neither improve nor diminish our worth to the Father.  Whether smudged or dirty, clean or pretty, we are all of equal worth in the sight of God the Father.

When we are finally found by God and are saved by His Son Jesus, we are picked up, polished up, and put into His pocket to be spent however He pleases.  A quarter in my pocket does not decide how or where it should be spent.  I decide that.  So it is with God.  We are His 25 cents and He will spend us however He wishes.

What a grand example of the love of the Father!  God showed me my foolishness in thinking that I am somehow more special or worth more than my brother or sister because I have tried harder than some (it seems) to live a good life.  (Oh Lord, please forgive me!)  "Apart from Me you can do no good thing," Jesus emphatically reminds me (John 15:5).  I am 25 cents in the palm of God's hand, dearly bought by His Son.  And so are you.

I am worth 25 cents.