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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It All Adds Up

In my last post, I talked about the value of "little by little." Even God works on that principle, we found. 

Here's a wonderful true story by my friend Mike Bechtle, who is the author of People Can't Drive You Crazy If You Don't Give Them The Keys. He blogs at http://www.mikebechtle.com/. 

Like most men, my first act upon entering the house at the end of the work day has always been to empty my pockets. Receipts, paper clips, scratch paper, car keys and a few coins was a typical collection. 

One day, I decided to get organizedpartially, at least. I placed a small wooden bowl on the desk. Each day, I would still make the pile, but the coins would go in the bowl. When the bowl filled up, I would empty it into a cardboard box in the closet. Over months, that bowl filled up many times.

My 14-year-old son, Tim, walked into my office one day. "Dad, can I roll those coins for you?"

I hated rolling coins. That's why I'd put it off for so long. So I responded, "Tim, that's great. I'd really appreciate it."

His next question reminded me of his entrepreneurial spirit. "Can I keep ten percent for my fee?"

I should have known that he had thought this throughmuch more carefully than I had. I figured there was about $40 or so collected. Was it worth four dollars to have him roll those coins? "No problem, Tim, the ten percent is yours."

He disappeared for an hour or so. Then I heard him enter the room. "Dad, I'm finished."

"That's great, Tim. Did you take your fee?"

"Sure did," he replied.

"How much did you get?"

"About thirty dollars," he announced.

I was aghast. "Tim, I told you to only take ten percent."

"I did."

Quick math. Quick shock. "You mean I have three hundred dollars in that box?"

"Nope, now you have two hundred seventy."

Ask me for three hundred dollars today, and I'd probably be hard-pressed to come up with it. But with a minimum of effort, just a few coins a day, I ended up with a surprising result.

Copyright, Mike Bechtle. Used by permission. 

Thanks, Mike, for your willingness to share that story. It gives us a visual image of how God's works in our lives will add up little by little. We may think He isn't doing very much, but then when we pay attention to what He's done, we see it has added up.   

You can apply that to the progress in other people's lives too. Your children are becoming more mature. Your spouse is developing their character. Your friend who you are mentoring is getting stronger in trust in God. Things are happening! But we don't see them because they are small incremental steps. 

But step back for a moment and notice the difference between your reactions from a year ago or five years ago. You have matured and developed. So have your children, spouse, and friends. There is a difference, we just have to pay attention and be encouraged. And give thanks to God—the Source of growth!  

Photo image courtesy of zirconicusso at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10030883

     

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