He sat there eating the chocolate filled saltine crackers I had placed on the kitchen counter, giggling along with my little girl, as I explained to him I was working on my first book. Spiked hair, freckles on his nose, without a doubt he is one of the most intellectual young boys you will ever meet. He so reminded me of one of those smart kids on a television brain quiz show. “Write about me, write about me Mrs. Beverly and make me famous!”
Every neighborhood has one, a real live “Dennis the Menace” for our family his name was Ethan S. Taylor and he lived around the corner. Without a doubt he had the kind of innocent playful personality that you were drawn to like a magnet. I could tell you about the time Ethan spilled an entire glass of orange soda on our light-colored living room carpet, or the time he dropped a ball of green slimy goo on the floor upstairs and slipped out quietly from our home without a word. I knew right then something was wrong because I was in the middle of cooking dinner and it never failed Ethan would always ask,” What you cooking?” Hmmm, not this time. That green goo was awful and took hours of knee scrubbing to remove, with no avail.
One thing that will forever stick out in my mind was the candid response Ethan gave to a question I asked one Sunday while teaching his class. “Can you name someone who is successful, and share what leads you to believe they have great success? “ Ethan was the first to raise his hand and I will never forget his gullible child like reply. “I think my neighbor Mr. Stan must be very successful, because when you pass by his house he always has such green grass. It looks just like a golf course.” Wow, he had naively measured a man’s success by how green his grass was.
You know that is just how some of us adults measure the success of our neighbors and friends. Just by looking at “how green their grass is!” Now more than ever, to mankind, success has become achieving what you want within the standards that have been set for us by the world. It’s all about who has the nicest car, house, boat, jet skis….. Turf guys tell me to have green grass it all starts at the roots. Just enough fertilizer , water, the right soil and sunshine to help the grass mature. Without those things the grass will wither and die. This is also true with success of material things. It can all crumble within a matter of days.
I can recall a time in our marriage when my husband and I were living carefree. We were both making great salaries and buying all sorts of fun toys. Then I was forced to make a swift decision about leaving the security of my job. Within a matter of weeks the financial freedoms we enjoyed were limited. Our budget had to be revised and we had to live frugal in some areas that we never had in the past. Our family found ourselves praying over major purchases and seeking God for wisdom with our checking account and even small investments. Without the disciplines being put into place with our finances we could have been in a mess.
Friends, if you don’t have something deeper at the roots to rely on you can be left with nothing but shattered dreams and failures. As Christians, our greatest success will not be gained by material things but it will be gained by reading the Bible, learning the word, time spent in prayer offering God praise and sometimes, just sitting still and resting in God’s presence. It’s all about honoring God and giving him the glory. When you are totally sold out and submissive to God, then you are the wealthiest person in the world! Our things on earth are just temporary but the love of Christ will last eternal.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the world, and lose his own soul” -Mark 8:36
How are you measuring success in your marriage?