“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

Banging Change

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,
   and he will reward them for what they have done. Proverbs 19:17

I first met Ryan in December 1993. I was meeting my fiance's family over Christmas break in Michigan. Of course, I was trying to make a good impression. I think I did all right - though Ryan wasn't exactly the one I was most focused on.

Perhaps the fact that he was only five years old played a role in that.

I remember his smile, and his speed, from then. Boy, could he run fast :) Hubby and I married in May of 1994, and moved to Michigan three months later. We weren't living in Ryan's back yard, but we did see him on occasion. Nice kid. Fun. Cute as a button. Crazy. But we were never close.

I recently got a chance to learn a whole lot about him - about his love of movie making, about his passion for the homeless, about how devoted he was to his friends. And he inspired me.

As I learned more and more about him, one phrase continually popped up: "Bang Change." This was something he did regularly. He would take the change from his pockets, and throw it against a building, most often in the rougher parts of town, saying "Bang Change," leaving it for someone hungry enough to pick it up. That way, no one had to lose dignity, or feel grateful or indebted to him.

I wanted to tell him how much I admired him for that. What a creative, and powerful, way it was to help those in need. That I would make a point of doing that very thing. But I couldn't.

at the crash site - see all the change?
Because I found out these things about him at his funeral. My nephew, Ryan "Kinch Kid" Lennox died in a car crash on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at the young, young age of 23. At the visitation (which I was unable to attend) the floor became covered with coins his friends had dropped in his memory. And "bang change" was a continual refrain at his funeral, which I was able to attend last Friday. Many of his friends (and he had MANY) are vowing to continue to "bang change" regularly as a way to carry on his memory. And I'm one of them.

Jesus wants us to be kind to the poor. To help the widow and the orphan. And there are many ways we can do this. But I can honestly say I've never heard of this one before - and it's easy to do. And, as a bonus (to me and my family, anyway), it honors the memory of a passionate, laid-back, wonderful young man who just might change the world - even though he's no longer on it.

God did not give us specific instructions on HOW to help others - but he did say "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40)

I'm certainly not God, but I think He would approve.


What kind of impact are YOU having on the poor? What do you think of Banging Change? Hug your kids - and make sure you get to know those close to you - or you could learn about them at their funeral.
Stop by Living by Grace and we can chat a bit!

Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength


  1. Oh wow! ...so touching.

    That's a creative way to give to the poor. (a story, with a character using "bang change", immediately formed in my mind)

  2. A touching tribute to a young man whose life has definitely made an impact.

  3. Powerful and touching post, Jo.
    Thank you.


  4. Beautiful tribute, Jo. IMHO "banging change" is an incredibly moving and humble way to obey Jesus.

  5. What a wonderful tribute—and what a super idea!

  6. So sorry for your loss, Joanne! Sounds like Ryan's practice of 'banging change' will continue in the lives of many others. Praying for you and your family during this difficult time. God bless!

  7. Oh Jo. Thank you for sharing a bit of Ryan's life with us. What a wonderful story and way to remember him. May we all bang change...

  8. WOW. I think "bang change" needs to start up in my home. What a beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry for you & your family's loss. It is heartbreaking.


  9. Joanne, I love this! What a great way of thinking and giving! I'm on it.

  10. I. Love. This. Bang Change! It's wonderful. I am going to do this. Thank you for sharing this story. And I am so sorry for your loss. :)

  11. This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. What a legacy he left at 23. This is a wonderful perspective that I will be pondering.

    Banging change.


  12. I lost my sister 2 years ago today. She would have been 50 just a few weeks ago on the 22nd of January. Although I have many memories of my sister, I think what I will remember the most is how much she gave of her time and talent to others in the few months before she died. She enjoyed making jewelry and loved to give her creations away, adorning herself with only the joy of knowing she blessed someone. And she did this in abundance till she passed. I wear many of her pieces she made for me on her birthday and today. Blessings and, yes, do make sure to get to know those who are close to you.

    1. Praying for you, Cathryn. What a beautiful legacy she left. Thanks for stopping by.


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