Six Scrawny Pennies

“Eventually hard work gets mistaken for talent.”–E.M.

Once, when I was about four years old I thought I had discovered a way to get rich. My great uncle Tommy had a cotton patch next to my Grand-dad Deloney’s house, and I was at mamaw’s when Uncle Tommy was hiring people to pick his cotton.

What a chance for an enterprising four-year old! Mamaw outfitted me with an empty grain sack to put my cotton in, but most importantly she made me something to eat. You can’t work hard without eating and those two peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches would do the trick.

So, I joined several people already hard at work under the hot mid-morning sun. Visions of money danced in my head. They didn’t dance for long, though, because visions of peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches began to cavort in their place.

A man’s got to keep up his strength, so I found a quiet spot and enjoyed the world while the others picked. A bit later it was time to weigh the cotton because we were paid by the weight.

I only had a little bit in the bottom of the sack but somehow I persuaded myself that was worth a lot of money. And if not, Uncle Tommy was still grand-dad’s brother and blood counted for something didn’t it?

Uncle Tommy said he would drop by mamaw’s to leave my pay. Later, grandma passed my salary on to me—six cents. Six measly pennies! That was about 1954 but still, six cents! My visions of all I was going to buy with my salary evaporated.

Actually, there was an important reason that I didn’t make much money that day–I didn’t do much. I probably spent more time eating than I did working. Here’s a fact of life for most of us: if you don’t work much, you don’t get paid much.

This principle works in the realm of our service for God. Salvation is free but we are servants of the living God. And servants are supposed to work.

Lots of people want to give the Lord their spare time, spare change, and the spare parts of their heart. He’s not their priority but more like a fire-insurance policy. We throw our left-overs on the altar of sacrifice and expect God to be impressed.

And we wonder what’s missing.

Almighty God gave his all for us. Did you know that He expects our best in return? “Oh, I can’t because but I’m not very capable,” we say humbly. Often in these cases “humble” is a synonym for “lazy.”

Erwin McManess said, “Eventually hard work gets mistaken for talent.”

I read of a beautiful young lady who was visiting in Romania after the fall of the communist government. She saw abandoned children living in sewers. She wasn’t particularly qualified to do anything about the situation–but she did. It was tough but lots of kids’ lives are different because she worked for the Lord!

Maybe it’s time to do a little check-up. Are we working hard for the Lord, or are we spending most of our time eating peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches in the shade?

“Hard work always pays off; mere talk puts no bread on the table.” (Prov. 14:23, The Message) “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Cor. 15:10, NIV)

Six cents! I still can’t believe that. Six measly cents!

Hmmm …
“Do not wait for inspiration to strike. Inspiration is only ever granted to those who work hard.” Zoe Heller, writer.

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