So, according to this week’s federal budget, Canadians will soon be penniless. (I don’t mean we’re all going to end up on welfare, I mean we’ll literally be without pennies: they’re being taken out of circulation. Apparently, they cost more to produce than their face value.)
Most of the initial reactions I read to this had to do with the cost of thoughts increasing (i.e., “A penny for your thoughts” will have to become “A nickel for your thoughts”). My first reaction was, “What will I use to weigh down my freight cars on my model railroad?”
There will be some significant ramifications for Canadians once this move takes place. Since credit and debit cards are used for so many transactions nowadays, it may not matter as much as we initially think, but when paying with cash, will figures be rounded up or down? Even if prices are rounded off, the addition of taxes will force the need to round up or down again. (And you can bet your bottom dollar – since you won’t have any pennies anyway – that the bulk of the rounding will be “up”.)
There will almost certainly be other smaller, less noticeable changes necessitated by the removal of the penny. But it reminds us that even something as lowly and seemingly insignificant as the penny, to which we pay little heed today, will, with its disappearance, cause societal problems in our land.
There is something else to which most Canadians pay little heed which, if it disappeared, would also cause societal problems: the church of Jesus Christ. A lot of people think the church is out of touch with society and should be abandoned entirely, but this arrogant concept is lobbed out quite thoughtlessly. Even to those who do not believe in God, the church plays a significant role in society, advocating for the family, providing community, and providing for the needy – among countless other important responsibilities. For those who do believe in God, the church needs to be a treasured organism, since it is God’s means of providing hope to the world through its proclamation and embodiment of the truth of Jesus Christ.
We who are the church do well to live, love and serve as those who are instruments of the Holy Spirit in providing hope to the world around us. Being an organism – not an organization – is key to fulfilling this responsibility. An organization tends to live for its structure; an organism lives to grow, and ceases to live when it stops growing.
“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied…’Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it’” (Matthew 16.16-18, NLT).
Let’s live and grow as the church, which matters to God, and matters to our world – even if it’s not yet noticed by many around us. God is at work.