The Ancient Coin

Ever since he was a small orphan boy, Abdullah lived at the edge of the village where he grew vegetables on his small plot of land and sold them in the marketplace.

As he grew older, the work became too much for him. Now it was hard to dig, sow the seeds, weed and water the plants. He began to worry about how to earn a living. Then there was also the problem of paying taxes.

CoinEach spring season he received his tax notice. He would put it away until he could earn enough cash from his vegetable crop to pay the amount. But this year was different. There was a drought. Many plants died in the field and his crop scarcely filled a basket.

One day, the tax officer came with his second notice. Naturally, Abdullah was anxious about how to pay the tax. He thought of borrowing money from his neighbour, but he too had no money. He could not think of a way to solve the problem.

Then, to make matters worse, the walls of his cottage were beginning to crumble and needed repairs. While trying to fix the walls, he noticed a pot hidden inside one wall. Excitedly, he took it out and emptied it. At the bottom he found a large, ancient coin. When he examined it and rubbed it clean, it looked like gold. His first thought was, “Now I will be able to pay my taxes.” Looking forward to relief, with money to spare, he relaxed.

That very evening the tax officer, who was also his friend, stopped by to greet Abdullah and inquire how things were with him. He knew that he would soon have to serve the final notice to Abdullah to pay his taxes. As they visited and talked, Abdullah told the officer about the “gold” coin. The officer asked to see it.

When the coin was brought, the officer bounced it on a stone to see if it rang true. He returned it to Abdullah, with a sad face. He said, “This coin does not ring true, my friend.”

“Did it not come to me from my grandparent’s house and possibly from their ancestors of long ago? How can you say that it is not good!” Abdullah said.

The officer turned the coin over and examined it closely, then said, “Part of it is good, but part is bad. It will not pass when you offer it.”

Abdullah became very angry and said, “How dare you speak against my ancestors and attack their good names! Do you think they did not know how to tell the worth of a coin?”

The officer replied gently and quietly, “I know nothing about your ancestors, my brother. But I do know that this coin does not ring true and that it will not pass. If I allowed you to appear at the court without warning you about it, I would not be your true friend.”

Following this outburst Abdullah became even more angry and refused to speak to his friend any more. The officer arose, said good bye, and departed.

That night Abdullah could not sleep. Once again he was filled with anxiety and doubts. He reasoned within himself, “Would my father and his fathers before him preserve the coin if it were not genuine?.” He concluded that they would not have saved a worthless coin. He comforted himself with this argument. His peace returned and he decided not to think about it further.

With his mind at rest, he made no efforts to make sure the coin was genuine up to the day of payment. He did not think of what would happen if it were worthless for paying his taxes. Finally, the last notice arrived instructing him to make his payment at the tax office.

Guarding his shiny “gold” coin, Abdullah went to the tax office and took his place in line at the treasurer’s table. Like the tax officer, the treasurer dropped the coin on a stone to see if it rang true. It gave off a dull heavy sound. The treasurer gave it back to Abdullah and said, “My brother, this coin does not ring true. Please give me another.”

Abdullah’s face turned pale, as he replied, “I have no other. I beg you, Sir, take this for whatever it is worth. Even though it may be mixed metal, such a large piece of it must have some worth.”

The treasurer answered, “No doubt it contains a little gold, but it is contaminated with worthless metals. I cannot accept it. You know that the government requires payment in pure gold. You have three days to provide me with the payment. See to it.”

Abdullah had no words to say. He was too proud to go to the tax officer and admit he had been foolish in trusting in his worthless coin and too proud to ask for help. For the next three days, he could do nothing. On the fourth day, the police took him to prison. As he was led away his neighbours heard him say, “It is my own stupidity. My punishment is on my own head. I trusted something that did not ring true.”

Learning From the Story
Friend, does the carelessness of Abdullah surprise us? Then, what about our own carelessness? We must think about the debt that we owe God, the Lord of the whole universe. Think about the warnings He has sent us. The God Most High gave most people three warnings that we must appear before Him on the Day of Judgment. The first is the voice of conscience. God warns us by our conscience that when we do wrong we will be punished. This is as the first notice sent to Abdullah.

Our second warning comes through the written Word of God. The Law of Moses,1 the Psalms of David,2 and the Prophets and the Gospel of Jesus3 teach clearly that death comes because of sin, and after death comes the Day of Judgment.4

The third warning is often clear and painful. Sickness comes and death seems near. It becomes plain that we will meet God and answer for everything we have done. In other words, we will have to pay up, as did Abdullah.

It is time to examine your own life. In what are you trusting? Will it like a pure gold coin ring true in the presence of God on Judgment Day?

You may be trusting in that which your ancestors handed down, believing it must be true. Dear Friend, test your religion. See if it is pure. Will it prepare you for the Judgment Day of God?

God requires that every prayer be said with a pure heart, free from selfish desire, anger, or revenge. Have your prayers been “pure gold”?

No matter how hard we try, no matter how many times we say our prayers, give to the poor, do the fast, or go on a pilgrimage, we come back as the same person.

In the Holy Injil, we read, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”5

However, God has not left us in this sad condition. It is the shining, pure gold of a life lived without a single sin – the life of Jesus the Messiah. He offered Himself in your place as a perfect payment (ransom) for your sins. His perfect life satisfied the demands of a perfect God for a perfect sacrifice to meet the demands of a perfect law. His resurrection from the dead was complete and undeniable proof of his perfect payment. Unlike Abdulla’s coin, it rings true.

If you with your whole heart place your trust in Him, an amazing thing happens. He does for you what you could not do for yourself, You are weak; He is strong. You sin; He is sinless. He died in your place to save you from eternal punishment. When you sincerely believe and obey Him as your Saviour and Lord, He washes you, cleansing you from your past sins. He sends His Holy Spirit to live in you. He gives you a new nature, and helps you to learn a new way of living for God. You will not present your good works (the worthless coin) to God. God presents you with a new power to live a godly life and enter into eternal life in heaven.

Therefore, my friends, throw away the worthless coin in which you may be trusting. Instead, receive by faith the coin that rings true, the pure gold, the sinless Messiah, as your Saviour and Lord

Would you like to know more about God and His will for your life? Contact us if you would like to study a free Bible correspondence course.

  1. Holy Bible, Book of Genesis 2:17 

  2. Holy Bible, Book of Psalms 9:7-8; 50:3-4 

  3. Holy Bible, Book of Ezekiel 18:4 

  4. Holy Bible, Book of Romans 5:12-21; 6:23; Book of 2 Timothy 1:10 

  5. Holy Bible, Book of Romans 3:1-12, New International Version