A kingdom or a Quarter

Photo Credit to HOPE International

She decided to give him everything, every penny she had if he asked for it.  Traffic roared past, honking and swerving around the steady stream of people the flowed across the street .  Miniature buses, motorcycles with side cars, and garishly colored elongated jeeps (Jeepneys) bristled with passengers like a giant sea anemones.  Dust, Diesel fumes, and the faint smell of garbage, rolled over her in humid waves of scorching tropical heat.  

In the mass of moving humanity on this crowded street corner in Manila Philippines, the man tugged at her elbow,  “Peso miss.”  He was asking for money, a Peso, like asking for a quarter in the US.

This would be one of a dozen of requests she would have received walking down the street that day, and for some reason when she looked at him, she saw something different; her heart went out to this man.  “God, how much should I give him?”  She always prayed while she walked.  

For some reason on that day, to that person, she decided to give everything she had – as much as he asked for.  “How much would you like?” she turned to him, pulling her purse off her shoulder.

His answer says something profound about the human soul, our perspective, and eternity.


I am late.  Late, late, late – arghhh.  I HATE being late.  I am trying not to drive like a maniac, trying to keep the importance of punctuality in an eternal perspective.  

“Please, please let the light be green,” I pray when I drive, especially when I am late.

For some amazing reason, every light is green on this day.  I am racing through town astounded.  “Is that you God?  Thanks.”

Did I hear a cosmic sigh?  A divine eye roll?  I can almost see God putting his chin in his hands, resting his elbows on one of those puffy nimbus clouds and looking down with pursed lips.  As an answer, I remembered my mom’s story.


The man begging on the street in the Philippines thought for a moment, looking at my mom reaching into her purse, “how much?  Two Pesos!”

Two?  He could have had two hundred.  

How many times does Jesus tell us that he wants to richly bless us.  He is rich, with the cattle on a thousand hills.  He wants to give us our heart’s desire, and we ask for two Pesos.

If you’re saying, yeah, I should ask God for a million dollars instead of ten thousand, or for a super model instead of just a warm body, then you missed the point; you are still asking for two Peso’s.  There are things worth a lot more than money or human love out there.

I do it too.  We focus so much of our attention on temporary things.   But God longs to hear and answer prayer for the eternal.  So what if the light turns green?  For that matter, so what if you’re late? What about an incredible indescribable fire that burns inside you, making you laugh when someone cuts you off, breathe songs of deep gratitude when your world is crumbling around you, be deeply at peace when everyone else around you is stressed out?  What about a heart that cries for the hurting people around you, instead of being so full of it’s own pain all you can think about is anesthesia: shopping, or drinking, or working, or eating, or playing, or being in control, or being famous, or being loved?

Everyone talks about the people that changed the world.  What about you?  God is dying to make a profound difference in the world.  He wants to use you to do it.  He wants to fill you with his holy power so that you experience a life that people around you can only marvel at.  The other little things he gives to us, always hoping that we’ll ask for so much more.  When you pray, what are you asking for?

The king asks his child, “Choose, a kingdom of wealth, or a quarter?”

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“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses