Little Can Be Much

grandfatherIt is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.
Psalm 37:16 NLT

Both of my grandfathers were friendly and loved their family, but that’s where their similarities ended.

My maternal grandfather was a farmer who hired out most of the hard work to neighbors who were willing to work for low wages. He drank heavily and smoked the same. In his younger years, he also gambled heavily, which explained how he came by some of what he possessed. I never remember him helping me or my family; he just left us stuff when he died. I received his pocket watch and one thousand dollars. When the strokes finally ended his life, he left behind thousands of dollars in the bank, a home, and hundreds of acres of land.

My paternal grandfather was quite different. He worked hard all of his life, beginning at age twelve when his father died and left him to run the family farm. He was as honest as the day was long, never drank, never lied, never smoked, and didn’t hang around those who did. He loved his family and neighbors with a passion and demonstrated it by giving of himself and his goods. He gave money to those in need, he bought for those who needed and couldn’t, and he used his God-given talents and gifts in and outside of the church. He lived a long life, and when he died he left behind a home and mere hundreds in the bank.

According to the psalmist, my paternal grandfather lived as God intended. He gave up the potential chance to be evil and have much for being good and possessing little.

God measures differently than most people do. Just a little can be a lot when measured by God’s standards. My having possessions isn’t what He’s concerned about. Not that He’s against me having stuff. He just knows what normally happens when I do. My attention shifts from Him to the stuff. I tend to hoard rather than help. Selfishness takes over, and selflessness flies out the window. Life becomes about me rather than others.

Initiative is certainly admirable, but God measures what it leads to. When my initiative leads me to Him, forgiveness, love, service, repentance, confession, and heaven, then I’m a rich man indeed.

Don’t measure your success in life by how much stuff you have. Measure it by how much you love God and others.

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