Fragments and Leftovers

A few years ago I engaged in an auction for some coins…

2017-02-23-08-12-01Nothing valuable, or special, but the left overs that would not be accepted by the banks. Why? They were foreign leftovers. They were worth nothing to the entity that took them as payment. They may say $1, but since the value differences between countries change every day, it may only be worth 2 cents.

Not even the value of it’s metal contents can hold the face value of the coin, unless its a precious metal we hoard. You know. Silver. Gold. Things like that.

Also, their shapes and sizes are very unique and do not fit most counting and sorting machines used by banks. Some coins were too thick, too large or small, or had edges and corners that indicated they were from another country. Sounds like Goldilocks!

Rather than see them melted down and destroyed, I took a chance in the auction and walked away with a few pounds of fragments and leftovers. Maybe a little bit of value, and I may never know. For the time being I simply pick them out, one by one and let my mind run down a pathway of their possible history, and wonder…

What brought them to this point? Someone traveling ended up with some left over coins and they made it into our financial  system. Fragments. Leftovers. Maybe, even, valueless.

Why buy them? Well, I’ve enjoyed collecting coins since I was 5 or 6 years old. You remember those penny books? Mine began with the year 1909 (if I remember correctly) and I was challenged to find every missing coin. It was difficult, but since we were only talking a 50 year span of time, those pennies always had a possibility of showing up… Today, that same book that began with 1909 now ranges over 100 years, and you get them by a subset of the range. I think it takes 3 books to cover the same time period. I’m not sure I still have the books as I transferred the pennies into a better collection system, but I assure you those pennies are not fragments or leftovers in my world.

Over the years I see people tossing pennies, not worth hanging around in their pockets… Fragments of a dollar. Was it not Ben Franklin that said, “A penny saved is a penny earned” and “Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.”

When camping out in about 1968 or so (I know it was at least this year because my dad had a 1968 Dodge pickup that was there with us), I found another coin that really captured my attention. It was dated 1910, smaller than the US dime, silver looking, and with foreign writing. It’s uniqueness, and how I found it, makes it a special memory for me. Not a fragment. Nor leftover. Not to me! Even though someone else thought it nothing more than a throw-away…

1913 d Wheat Penny
1913 d Wheat Penny

My dry-cleaner has a little basket on the counter with coins that folks leave behind. If you are short a few pennies then you are welcome to take what you need to complete the transaction. She is such a sweetheart that she allows me to mine through the coins and swap out anything I can find with a replacement coin. I’ve found some collectibles that are worth hanging on to even though they are fragments and someone else’s leftover. It may be worth nothing more than its face value, but it’s over 100 years old and is Nobody’s Fragment or Leftover as long as I’m around! ====>>>>>>>>>>>>>

After one of his miracles of taking a few loaves of bread and a few fish, Jesus showed us that fragments and leftovers are worthy of our attention.

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. (John 6:11-13 NKJV)

Gather up the fragments of uneaten food. The leftovers that no one wants. Gather them so that nothing is lost. Total them up and you will find a volume of value.

Here’s a personal view of the world I live in.

I watch people rush to discard the fragments and leftovers of their lives. They work hard to promote their minimalist attitude: memories, friends, family, school chums, furniture, autos…they all go to the rubbish bin to be tossed out. Even space planners teach us to record a memory (photo, audio) and get rid of anything we do not touch for a year. “There is nothing worth your energy to hang onto the fragment that takes up space.”

On the other hand, we end-up with a pure abundance of “stuff” and struggle with having enough space to store them all. We hoard them into every nook and cranny, and all the pathways of life, eventually preventing other fragments from being stored. We stockpile the valuable and hope they remain so, while at the same time, not knowing what to do with the next valuable fragment that comes along, we eventually move things into rented storehouses.

Where, when or how do you stop adding value to those fragments and leftovers in your life? Is a human life valuable? Friendship? Family? When we devalue something, we toss it aside. Much like the pennies and foreign coins in our pockets.

Has human life become so valueless that we toss it aside? Your family, even if they are full of problems to deal with? Your friends may come and go, but treasure those that insist on hanging around… They are worth it.

One last thought. I do not believe God devalues anyone as long as there is hope of restoration. Whether they be tossed aside before birth, or they have committed a heinous crime that locks them away for life, each has value, though each may be a fragment, or leftover.

Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?
And not one of them is forgotten before God.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows….”
(Luke 12:6-7 NKJV)