If someone pays you using a three-cent piece, do not assume that it is a counterfeit coin. An authentic three-cent piece could be worth as much as 20 dollars! A circulated 20-cent piece could be worth $100 or more. Either of these would be a rare find in light of the fact that they were made in the late 1800s.

I have held on to a brand new $2 bill for several years. I wonder if a store would accept it if I tried to pay my bill with it. You may be wondering, so I will not keep you in suspense: my $2 bill is worth, well, two dollars! It is not old enough or rare enough to be a collector's item.

Most of us possess items that are worth more to us than they are worth to another person. I recently attempted to sell an item that is in "like new" condition and the buyer was willing to pay only one-third of the price I paid for it. I was not willing to take such a drastic loss!

There are also keepsakes whose sentimental value is worth very little to the general public. Many years ago my high school ring was stolen. I am certain it was worth more to me than whatever the new owner may have received upon selling it.

Do you realize that the same can be said for our opinions? Has anyone ever offered you "a penny for your thoughts?" On the other hand, when offering your unsolicited opinion, you claim to be putting in "your two cents worth." Apparently, your thoughts or ideas are worth twice as much to you as they are to other people!

Some people believe the two-cent idiom originated with the card game called "Poker," two cents being the ante, or the minimum bet to remain in the game. Others believe it was "coined" in conjunction with the penny for your thoughts idiom -- "I offered a penny for your thoughts, and you gave me two cents worth."

I like the idea that it may have originated in the Gospel of Mark. Many rich people were contributing great sums of money to the Temple treasury, but a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins. Jesus commended her because, while the others gave out of their wealth and had plenty left over, she gave out of her poverty; she put in everything she had. Jesus always looks at the heart. Whether we are talking about Christian service, brotherly love, or charitable donations, He is not so much concerned with the size of the gift, but the size of the heart.

My guess is that many of the things we enjoy today that make life easier and better began with someone putting in their two cents worth, an investment that grew with time.

In 1990, the youth group at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina had the idea of helping one of their local compassionate ministry organizations. As the idea developed, they decided to ask other churches in the area to join them. Twenty-two churches raised $5,700 that year. This year, nearly 6,000 groups participated in this event, Souper Bowl of Caring, and they raised almost $10,000,000 in cash and canned foods, with 100 percent of the donations going directly to compassionate ministries centers across our country.

Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.

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