On Dimes, Twenty Dollar Bills, and Spiritual Discipline

I was at one of our house churches the other day talking to an eleven year old who asked some great questions. We were talking about the places in Scripture where Jesus tells us to “go and buy gold refined by fire,” and his story where he tells us to “go and buy oil.” All of these are places that tell us go and develop a close relationship with Christ.

He was having a hard time understanding those concepts, so I told him this story:

“Imagine that your dad made you a deal. Every time you brought your dad a dime, your dad responded by giving you $20.00. Would you take your dad up on that deal?”

He shook his head yes.

“I bet you’d do it a lot, wouldn’t you?

He shook his head again.

“I bet you would. You’d do it until you became rich. Well that’s what its like with Jesus. We go and bring our small hearts to Jesus and ask him to reveal himself to us. We call this prayer. He responds by showing up and showing himself to us in ways that grow our hearts and make us wealthy in God, because that is real wealth — knowing God.”

Dallas Willard famously said, “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.” We have to make the effort to show up and pray. We have to show up to encounter him. We bring our dime. When we do, God takes our ten cent prayers and brings $20 encounters and $20 answers to the things we ask for. This is grace.

This morning I was thinking of the conversation again. I realized that I hadn’t told my young friend the whole story. See, I had told the story to him as if the first dime he brings to his dad is his. The reality is one we forget often — the first dime he gave his dad is a dime his dad gave him first. We are able to bring our hearts in prayer to meet with God because he gave us the initial desire to do so. It was him, putting in us a desire to be close to him to begin with, that allows us to begin to want to pray. You may even be feeling the tug right now to spend time with Jesus. This is also grace.

So let’s bring our dimes and trade them in. The little we bring will be transformed into so much more. Let’s also not forget who gave us the dime in the first place.

Photo Credit: Drop It On A Dime by Voldy Morton


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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

2 responses to “On Dimes, Twenty Dollar Bills, and Spiritual Discipline”

  1. Sharon says :

    Wonderfully stated and great reminder for all of us.

  2. Tim says :

    In the justification part of our salvation there is no earning. But in the sanctification part there is. Grace enables earning, or reproduction, bearing fruit. We will be rewarded for what we have done. That is earning. Jesus also told the parable of giving of the talents expecting them to be invested for an ROI on the masters investment. Then there are the seeds that bear 30 – 60 fold etc. This still all ties into your story with the young priest / fellow heir. We can multiply the grace given to us. Jesus will pay off with reward beyond our comprehension.

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