Tonight, for lack of anything better to watch, we turned on Sanford and Son. This particular episode was about Grady. He lived with his well-to-do daughter and son-in-law. He felt out of place because he lived there free. A friend recommended that he buy his kids a gift for their home. The theory was that they would love it, thank Grady and Grady would feel better about living there free. Grady had only $67, but decided he would use it all to purchase some artwork for their home. He was so excited when he returned with the gift and proudly unveiled it, just before a big, fancy dinner party they had planned. The painting was a poorly painted nude woman. The couple proudly hung it over the fireplace. At the dinner party, Grady overheard several people talk about how tacky the painting was. Grady got everyone’s attention and announced that he had bought the painting because he loved his daughter and she hung it because she loved him. He then went upstairs and talked himself into running away. He returned shortly after to ask for a loan for the bus. His daughter asked where he’d been and why he had left. His answer? “I live here free. You been giving, giving, giving and I’ve been taking, taking, taking. That’s why I’m leaving, leaving, leaving.” His daughter lovingly explained that everyone gave different things. They gave him a place to live, but he gave something they couldn’t – roots and love to help keep them grounded, to help keep them knit together.
Now, you need to know, this really spoke to me. The dear husband and I have been in a place we never could have imagined. Our finances are more than a disaster. We’ve had to accept help….so much help. While I am eternally thankful for the people God has instructed to help us, it’s hard. What I’ve learned about myself lately is that although I said I trusted God to provide for our needs, turns out I only trusted Him to do it the way I thought He should. I trusted Him to provide jobs to provide for our needs, but that hasn’t been His plan. I’ve allowed myself to accept the world’s version of God’s provision. I’m certain you’ve heard it – God helps them who help themselves. Hmmm. Really? Because I’m not so sure that’s what the Bible says. In fact, Jesus said (in Matthew 6:25-34),
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Now, before you think I’m saying quit your job and wait for God to provide, hear me out. I believe, with everything in me, that God puts us in jobs. I believe He orders our steps, just as Psalm 37:23 says. But, that can’t be your focus. The focus must be on God and what He’s doing and where He wants you. He has us in jobs, but the money isn’t great. Well, it’s not even good. And we still need help.
As I was lamenting one day about how I’m always taking, taking, taking, my best friend said to me basically what Grady’s daughter told him. She told me that what I give is priceless. She reminded me that I was exactly where God had planted me. But, I forget easily. So, I was thankful for Sanford and Son and Grady. God used them to remind me of what I thought I knew. Now, I’ll share it with you.
This life is temporary. Our time here is short. When we get to heaven and stand before our maker, it won’t be our jobs or the amount of money we make or the awards we receive that will matter. Our degrees will be useless. Our bank accounts meaningless. What will matter? I have to believe that only a few things will matter. How we loved God. How we obeyed His Word, His command. How we loved others. How we helped others. Those things will matter.
So….what about you? What are you pursuing? What matters most to you? Will it matter in eternity?
Be blessed and tell someone you love them.
Oh….and if you’re one of those who have obeyed God and helped me and my family…thank you. So much.