Growing up my dad and my brother were always into coin collecting. I used to love going to the coin shops and digging through the box on the counter trying to find the coolest or strangest coin. It was fun to look at the coins and especially fun to hang out with my dad. I’ve gotten into coin collecting a little more as I’ve gotten older. I don’t collect really valuable stuff, I mostly just like to collect coins that are interesting to me.
I have a couple of coins from Tanzania. I like them because of the interesting shape as well as the ostrich on the back. One of the coins has been stamped improperly. The blank that was used wasn’t quite centered so the resulting coin is a little bent and misshapen.
I feel like that coin sometimes. There is always so much going on in life and the pressures can get so intense that I feel like I’ve been run through a coin press. And as much as I wish I came out all nice and sparkly, more often than not I just feel mangled. It’s nice to know that (unlike the unfortunate coin) this isn’t a permanent state. A little time at the temple or a quick date night with my wife and I feel the troubles melt away just a bit.
I’ve been playing around with an electric chameleon. It’s an amazing (and cute, according to my kids) little device that has a sensor on the bottom of the head that detects the color of the surface beneath it and then it adjusts its lights so that it glows the same color as the surface. Here’s another photo (the colors didn’t show up well when photographing, so I turned off the lights):
Is this what the Savior meant when He commanded us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16)?
I don’t think so. It’s true that the electric chameleon is giving off light, but what is the purpose of the light? In this case the light allows it to exactly match the surface it is on. In other words the light is actually camouflage.
How often do we fall into the same trap? We achieve fame and recognition, but sometimes it’s because we are doing exactly what the world around us is doing. If someone were to look at us we would be acting as a neon sign telling them, “Do what I do and the world will admire you!”
It’s much more challenging to step back from the world and act in a way that points others to Christ. Generally the things that cause others to glorify our Father in Heaven aren’t smiled upon by the world at large.
I guess the question is: do we camouflage in or do we have the strength to stand out?