There is something that all of us use, whether we are young or old, rich or poor, and whatever nationality we are—and it’s money! If we refused to use money we should not be able to obtain food, clothing or places to live, unless we chose to live like savages in the jungle—and I don’t think many of us would want to do that!
But there is one thing we must know about the money before we use it—whether it is good money! In every country there is a lot of bad money to be found which looks very much like the real thing but is actually worthless. In countries which have kings, like the parts of the British Empire, there are two things which show whether a coin is a good one or not—first, that is made of good metal, and second, that it has a clear image of the king on it. If it has both of these it can be called a ‘coin of the realm’.
When Jesus was on earth, He talked a lot about the Kingdom or Realm of God, and showed us by many different stories and actions what that Realm is like. And we can think of ourselves as coins of that country. Are we good coins or bad ones? If we are good ones we shall first of all be made of good metal—or rather of good metals, for coins are a mixture of more than one metal. The reason for this is that they must be strong and lasting, and not easily damaged. The life of a coin is a hard one. It is thrown about on counters of shops and banks, it is pushed into automatic machines where it has to meet sharp edges and all kinds of machinery, and it spends most of its life crushed uncomfortably up in pockets or purses with a lot of other money, just as hard as itself! So if it was made of soft metal it would be very soon wear away and become thin, and then the image of the king would wear off and no one could tell to what country it belonged, or even whether it was a coin at all.
So the coin makers at the Royal Mint in London where the coins of England, and the coins of some other countries too, are made, make certain that the metals are pure and good and then carefully blend them together. Of course as you know metals are full of dirt and impurities when they are dug up out of the ground and they have to be put through all sorts of treatments and furnaces before they are ready to be used for anything—and the coin makers are very particular to have only the very finest and purest metals. So if we are to be good coins of the Realm of God, we must first of all have our metals purified. How is that done? It is done by getting rid of all impurities—the wrong things. God is the only one who can help us do this, and if we ask Him, we can be sure He will help us. It may be a difficult thing for us to do, just as it is hard for the metal to go through the fire and be pounded and beaten to make it pure. It is always hard to lose the little things in life we would like to keep, but which make us impure metals. But if we let God take them away, we shall be a mixture of good metals, strong and ready to be used.
But first we must have the stamp of the King’s head placed upon us. This is a fine illustration for us of the truth that we must show a likeness to our King if we are to be true coins of His realm. However fine a man or boy’s character (or metal) is, he is of no use in the Kingdom of God unless he owns that he is the property of the King. But if we have a character made good and pure by God, and if we are proud to belong to His Kingdom, we can be sure that, wherever we go, we shall be as useful to the people we meet as the coins they have in their pocket. In fact we may be more useful than their money!
Once Peter and John were going into the temple when they saw a lame man lying at the gate, asking for coins. Peter said to him, “silver and gold have I none, but I have something else I will give you.” That “something else” was healing, and we can help to make people happy in hundreds of ways as we go through life, even if we can’t give them money. That’s what it means to be ‘coin of the realm’ in the Kingdom of God.
It’s a very sad thing but there are people who pretend to be true coins, but all the time they are counterfeits—imitations, frauds and worthless. Little boys in England like to put silver paper over farthings, which are copper coins, and pretend they are silver sixpences, as the two coins are about the same size. That is only a game, but don’t you think it is a dreadful thing for people to spend their lives pretending they are good coins when all the time underneath they are made of base metal? Jesus called such people ‘hypocrites,’ and that means a man who is cheating other people just as much as if he gave them a bad coin. I’m sure we all want our lives to be real, honest, useful, coin.
And that word “useful” reminds me of one more thing—that coins are some- times hoarded by people, or kept in museums, so that they are no use except to be looked at. The real usefulness of a coin is in its moving about among the people and helping them in their daily lives. The hymn tells us to “spend and be spent” in doing the Master’s will. That is a good motto for the coin of God’s realm, for the true Christian who wants to serve the Kingdom of God must not keep himself apart, as the old hermits did, but move about among other people helping all as he passes on his way.
The wealth of the Kingdom of God lies in its true coins, and each of us can be one of them.
The Malaysia Message
Vol. 49 No. 3