What is the Value of a Penny

DSCN4240Fifteen homeless men from 2 different Congregations for the Homeless shelters gathered at a Lutheran Church in Bellevue on Ash Wednesday morning at 7 a.m.  I was privileged to lead these men in a study of Lent and its meaning to us as individuals.  I spoke of spring training in AZ and FL as men getting prepared for a season and hopefully the World Series.  Our men learned that Lent is like spring training for us as we prepare for the “World Series” for followers of Jesus, that being Easter. We discussed Lent as a time for reflection, prayer, seeking humility, sacrifice and confession.

Comments from the men seemed to focus on 2 items — shame and guilt. These are a common denominator with the guys.  Men shared and we discussed that there was no condemnation for followers of Jesus (Romans 8:1) but also that the 46 days leading to Easter is a time to accept the gift of salvation and forgiveness and work on those things that separate us from God. They heard that 40 days were for fasting and the 6 Sundays of Lent were for celebration and rejoicing in the Lord.

In preparing to dismiss the men for the day to the local Day Center, library or walking the streets, three steps were proposed.  First, each man received a form and envelope and were asked to write down one sacrifice they would make between now and Easter (give up some behavior) or a initiate a discipline (bible reading, prayer) that they would begin and practice.  Each wrote a response, put in an envelope and gave to me, to be returned at Easter.

Next we shared communion, and for us it was an open table.  Our verses were the story of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet and then the Last Supper (the taking of the bread {broken body} and the cup {shed blood}).   The sharing cannot be captured on paper but was awesome.

We all agreed that maintaining discipline is one of the hardest things to do.  At that point, each man received a shiny penny.  The penny, to be kept in their pocket during Lent, is to be a reminder of Jesus’ parable of the lost coin, and also a reminder of the commitment made and put in an envelope.

What is the value of a penny…I will let you know at Easter.

This month I am a launching a campaign to train spiritual mentors, men and couples, who want to participate in changing a life.  Through some training, prayer and application of biblical truth, mentors can be an adjunct to other services these men receive in the social service community.



About Paul

Paul has worked with hundreds of individual clients from executives to recent college graduates related to career transition and life coaching. Paul holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology. He has written a book, How a Man Handles Conflict at Work. Paul founded (1991) the Career/Life Institute and provides coaching, organizational design and career transition serving clients ranging from large organizations to family owned enterprises. He served as a consultant to management teams, and had senior positions for Bank of America, Right Associates and CRISTA Ministries. His ministry outreach includes Poland, Romania, and 11 trips to Ethiopia. He volunteers for Congregations for the Homeless in Bellevue, WA.
This entry was posted in Faith, Homeless, Life, Ministry. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What is the Value of a Penny

Leave a Reply