Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” Proverbs 13:4
It was like free money. Ah, those were the good old days. When I was nine or ten years old, we used to go and visit our grandparents who lived in Gainesville, Florida. It was always an adventure to go to their house. While they weren’t necessarily rich, they were richer than we were. They had a fireplace which to me was an adventure all by itself. I remember one time, without permission, (oops), I went in the living room where the fireplace was. I had some newspaper and matches and decided that I was going to start a fire. There were several problems with that plan, but the big one was the draft in the chimney was closed. When I lit the papers, all the smoke began pouring into the living room and I didn’t have a clue on how to stop it. I’m not sure how that all turned out, but that is probably because I have mentally blocked the consequences.
Also, I remember they had an old garage behind the house and it was just filled with stuff. It was dark and dank and my imagination would race as I thought about what could be lurking in the recesses and corners. I can only wish I had some of those old treasures today. Beyond the garage was a large backyard that was really one big flower garden. There were several flower beds with daylilies, camellia bushes, and amaryllis. And then, beyond the backyard…was free money.
Imagine small city side streets with shallow ditches lining each side of the road. Imagine vines and low bushes almost overcoming the ditches and then imagine free money up and down the streets. You see, back in those days, cokes came in glass coke bottles and if you found a coke bottle you could take it to the store where they would give you two cents per bottle. On top of that you did your part to stop littering. Now keep in mind down south any soft drink was a coke. Someone might ask you, “Do you want a coke?” If you said yes, and who wouldn’t, they would respond with “what kind?” It might be a root beer, an orange or grape Nehi or something else. Whatever kind—the bottles all brought two cents each.
I would walk the streets around my grandparent’s house collecting bottles. On a good day I might find ten bottles which put twenty cents in my pocket. Now wait…don’t think that isn’t much because also in those days there was something called penny candy. Yup, it was a penny for each piece and there were a whole bunch to choose from. You could fill a small bag with twenty cents, which I did almost every time. You can probably understand why going to Gainesville was one of my favorite trips. I loved my grandparents, but I loved finding those bottles too. And the store…it was right across the street.
Times have certainly changed and getting a deposit for a coke bottle is all but gone. I was reading my water bottle label the other day and discovered if you lived in Oregon it was worth a whole dime. Shoot that thang! I sometimes wonder if we need to do a better job of teaching our kids or grandkids the value of earning a little money? Whether it was finding bottles or mowing yards for $2.00 it taught me lessons about working to get what you want. Too often kids grow up without learning the value of work or money for that matter. I’m pretty sure one of the best gifts we can give our kids is teaching them the value of working for something. Looking back, I’m thankful my Daddy and Mama gave me that opportunity.
The Book of Proverbs is a whole book in the Jewish and Christian Bibles dedicated to wisdom. Well, one of the proverbs in that Book says that people who don’t work want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. There’s a lot of truth in those few words. We often see work as a curse but in many ways, it is a gift…a great teacher. However, there is one area that I am glad work doesn’t play a part and that is as the way to heaven. In that case all the work in the world will leave you far short. But the good news is that God offers forgiveness and heaven as a gift to anyone who is willing to believe. What I could never earn, He freely provides. How about that!
I don’t necessarily long for the old days, but I am grateful for the days I’ve lived. Each season of life has had its ups and downs…its values and lessons. I still clearly remember the sheer joy of finding those two cent bottles. Times change and the way lessons are learned may change but through the years, the faithfulness of my Dearest Daddy has never changed. He has always been there and no matter what tomorrow brings. He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne