Posted in Family, friends, Grace, gratitude, life, loving others, priorities, Scripture, Southern born, thankful, wisdom

Money Tip

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10

I never considered myself an entrepreneur but looking back…maybe I am.  Fortunately, I was raised by a Momma and Daddy who believed in a strong work ethic.  While they weren’t overbearing about it, I grew up knowing that I should get a job and go to work. It must have worked because over my 53 working years I have always managed to have a job and go to work.  I consider that quite a blessing. Looking back, I think my working career really started when I was about ten years old.

In the early sixties, we had an old lawn mower or two that had seen better days but my Daddy, ever the mechanic, managed to keep them running.  And then, he was willing to let me borrow the mower and go around the neighborhood offering to mow people’s yards. Today, that is big business but back then…not so much.  I would grab the lawn mower, the gas can and start going door to door.  My business plan was simple.

I would go to the door, knock, or ring the bell and wait for someone to answer.  When they did, I would simply say, “Hello.  Would you like your grass mowed for $2.00? Now, most of these yards were a pretty good size so even back then that seemed like a fair price to me…but guess what?  That $2.00 then is equal to $27.40 today.  What? Ok, I must admit I was surprised to learn that.  That might explain why more often than not, the answer to my question was a polite, “No.”  You see, it turns out that $2.00 was a sizable investment back in ’64.

But there were plenty of folks that said yes, and there were a few repeat customers.  The bottom line is it was enough to give me some spending money and, of course, keep the gas can filled.  At the end of the day there was always a trip to Jackson’s Minute Market that was down the street from my house.  There I would pull out one of the wadded-up dollar bills and trade part of it for a RC cola or Icee and a honey bun.  That would set me back a quarter.  The rest of my earnings stayed in my pocket or in a safe place back home just waiting for a trip to the Pic-N-Save or some other store.

Speaking of Pic-N-Save, that is one thing I wrestled with—saving.  If memory serves me right, I did a whole lot more spending than saving.  It seems I remember my Daddy saying something about that money, “burning a hole in my pocket.”  Well, he was right.  While money didn’t come easy for me in ’64 it sure went easy.  Me and my dollars were all about me.  I never thought about giving or sharing…only spending.

Well, I am glad to let you know I have learned a little more about money since those days.  First, I learned (well, actually I’m still learning) that Jesus was right…it is more blessed to give than to receive.  Me and Jesus (and my wife Judy) came to terms a long time ago about giving back a part of what He gives to me. I’m even learning that everything belongs to Him anyway, so it only seems right to give some back.  And that isn’t all.

I’m also learning about saving.  I’ve always said that I was a spender and not a saver but now I can honestly say that I’m a pretty good saver. In fact, sometimes it is hard for me to let go of those hard earned dollars.  That might explain why I don’t go to the grocery store too often.  Judy will send me looking for a can of beans.  When I get there, I find out that there are all kinds of beans, and some are cheaper than others.  So, it might take me a couple of days to decide which one to buy.  Hmmm…how about that?

Another thing that I have learned is that money isn’t good or bad…it is just money…a tool that we can use either wisely or foolishly. One of those verses in the Bible that is often misquoted says that money is the root of all evil.  Turns out that isn’t what the Bible says at all.  It says that the love of money is the root of all evil.  In other words, when we start worshiping money or when greed becomes a monster in our lives…we are in deep weeds, and the answer to all of that is—generosity.

So, it turns out what to do with money is one of those lifelong lessons.  I’m grateful the ten-year-old Dewayne was taught to work but I wish he had learned a lot earlier about giving, sharing, and saving. But the good news is that it is never too late to change.  One of the greatest joys in life is sharing with others.  I think it must be a Jesus thing because He always shared with those around Him.  If you need some help, why not ask the One who owns it all…and chooses to share with you.  Take it to the bank (pun intended) He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne 

Posted in Father's Day, friends, Grace, life, love, loving others, Military memories, prayer, priorities, Scripture, Southern born, thankful, Trials

Thanks, Daddy…and Momma

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise.” Ephesians 6:1-2

This Sunday is Father’s Day, and it causes me to remember.  These days, I think it happens somewhere around a person’s 11th birthday. But back when I was a boy about to become a young man, it happened when I was 13 or 14.  When you are younger it seems you notice more of the things that Daddy and Momma’s do.  You appreciate the fact that that they do the ordinary things…the everyday things.

Things like washing clothes and cooking supper.  Things like ironing your shirts and cleaning the house.  Things like taking you fishing after a long day at work and teaching you the value of work.  Things like providing a place for you to sleep at night and knowing you were safe.  And, yes, things like showing you what two married people are supposed to look like…live like.

However, right before you take the leap into your teen years, something happens.  Suddenly enough is not enough.  Suddenly you know more—especially more than your parents.  Then you spend more than a few years not being appreciative, but rather telling them and anyone who would listen how hard things are “where I live.”  The fact that it was the sixties and seventies didn’t help.  It seemed that everyone around me was doing their own thing but all I could do was my Daddy’s thing.  Whatever he said, went, and that’s just the way it was. And yes, what Momma said went too.

When I was eighteen and stepped onto a plane to fly to basic training in the Air Force something began to click.  The things that Daddy taught me began to make sense.  All those “yes, sirs” and “yes, ma’am’s” that the Air Force required came easy for me because that’s the way I was raised.  When the call came to “get up, get up,” well that came easy too because I had a Daddy and a Momma who thought I didn’t need to lay in bed all day.  And going to work…second nature.  My Daddy demonstrated that year after year and by example taught me a strong work ethic.

Largely because of the times they said, “Because I said so” and set boundaries and enforced them, well, I’ve never woke up with a hangover, never spent a night (or an hour) in jail and have never been fired from a job. As I look back from my six and a half decades viewpoint (uh, plus three for good measure), I realize that my two incredible parents were right after all.  And I may, no I didn’t, appreciate it at the time but they saved me from a lot of regrets and consequences.

It is safe to say that time changes our viewpoint and as I sit here today mashing keys and writing, I realize just how blessed I have been.  My Daddy was quite the ordinary guy, but that is exactly what made him extraordinary.  He wasn’t perfect and gratefully he didn’t expect me to be either, but he did teach me respect for him and for others.  For 46 years I have respected the woman I am married to because he taught me to respect my Momma.  He (with a lot of help from God) helped me be the man I am today and for that I will be eternally grateful.

God chose to take my Daddy to heaven when I was only twenty years old…before he could meet my wife, my kids, and their kids.  I remember the summer Sunday morning we found him in bed. Sometime in the early, early morning he had slipped away from us and made the trek to heaven.  I’m glad I will see him again someday.  I’m not sure how all of this works but maybe, just maybe I will get to introduce him to my sweet wife and family.  What a day that will be for sure.

So, thanks Daddy, and Momma, for all you did for me…for the love and the sacrifices you made for me and the rest of the tribe.  And Grits family, remember to honor your father and mother, just like God says in His word.  It’s the first command with a promise and I promise you won’t regret it.  And, if you find that hard because of some very difficult memories and scars left from actions best not done, or words best not spoken, try and reach into God’s grace bucket and sling some around.  If you are a Jesus follower, your Dearest Daddy in heaven would like that and He’s even willing to help. As always, He’s got that…and this. Bro. Dewayne