January 13, 2017
11 Dishonest money dwindles away,
but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
Growing up I was of two minds when it came to money. On the one hand, I hustled. Every summer, my cousin and I farmed a profitable watermelon and cantaloupe truck patch and peddled them all over the tri-county area. I was the proprietor of a small, profitable pig farm. Every day after school I scrounged around behind the Piggly Wiggly for scraps of produce and anything else they threw away that pigs might eat. Beyond that I worked countless hours in the summer at agonizing manual labor jobs on the farm for a measly $3/hour. I saved every penny from all of these endeavors.
On the other hand, I was an aspiring hustler. I handicapped horse races and went to the racetrack every chance I got. I regularly sat in on quarter-ante poker games with friends. I hustled other kids on the golf course when I could. I loved to bet on football games. And had there been a lottery in those days I would have been a sucker for it.
On the one hand I worked really hard for every dime I earned. On the other hand I was constantly lured by the promise of easy money, of something for nothing.
Two common wisdom sayings compete at just this point. On the one hand it’s, “Easy come easy go,” and on the other is, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Isn’t that exactly what today’s proverb says?
Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
I remember one day on the farm in the midst of some backbreaking job in one hundred degree heat. In response to my grumbling and groaning about this work not being worth it, my dad said something to me I have never forgotten: “John David, there is no such thing as easy money.” It took me a few more years to grasp this, but he was exactly right.
To a greater or lesser degree, this battle wages in all of us. We all want a fail-safe scheme to make easy money. Anyone who has ever bought into a multi-level marketing program likely got in because someone convinced them it was easy money. Everyone of them quickly learned if they were going to make any money it would take far more labor than their recruiter represented.
Repeat after me. There is no such thing as easy money. Today’s proverb gives us three words that capture a fail-safe alternative. Did you see them? Go back and look.
For years now I have marveled at my mother’s simple practice of saving loose change. A few years back she started adding dollar bills to the collection. She’s not doing it from a scarcity mentality. She’s an abundance person. These currency collections have become something of a minor hedge fund she draws from to help people in need.
Face it. You are not going to win the lottery, so stop buying tickets. There is no such thing as easy money.
And those three wise little words?
Little By Little.
It’s the smallest, biggest truth about money.
Abba Father, thank you for saying so much in your Word about money and using it to reveal our own broken nature. I want your truth to be my wisdom and not just another proverb on the page. Teach me the grace of little by little. Even more, lead me away from the temptation of treasuring money. You are my treasure. I pray in the name of your son, Jesus, Amen.
1. Why do people buy lottery tickets? Do I really believe there is no such thing as easy money? Why or why not?
2. Am I practicing the wisdom of “little by little?” Am I always on the hunt for a “get rich quick” scheme?
3. How might I become more of a “little by little” kind of person? Where in my life right now could that become actionable?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.