Living Well 3

by teresalaynebennett

photo of hand dropping coins into a charity's change can

Small donations add up – for you AND others.

Okay. So can we agree (after Living Well 2) that practicing self-discipline to watch the little things – the little buying decisions – leads to living well for you?

Okay, what about others? Have you ever wished you could do something worthwhile for your favorite charity or your church? You can. Yes, right now. You have ten bucks to spare, don’t you? Ah, that’s what I thought. Ten bucks? Are your kidding? What good will that do?? If you’re like most of us, that’s what you were thinking.

We’re all stuck on the “big stuff.”

One of the oddest quirks of human nature is that we all want to do “the big stuff.” We don’t want to donate the easily affordable $10 to charity; we want to build a new wing for the hospital. We don’t want to write a 200-word article for our scrapbooking club’s monthly newsletter; we want to write a 500-page e-book on scrapbooking. We don’t want to save $3 this week; we want an extra $300 to show up in our checking account after implementing a few new saving habits.

Maybe that’s why Jesus felt it necessary to say that giving just a cup of cold water to someone who needs it will bring us a reward. Talk about a little thing. Notice, he didn’t say we needed to build a dam to provide hydro-electric energy and water for an entire section of a third-world country whose people are dying from diseases that they get from drinking unsafe water (whew) in order to receive our reward. No, just give what we all have – a cup of cold water. A little thing. A very little thing.

Know what I think?

We don’t practice self-discipline in the little matters of life – whether it’s foregoing a $5 latté, leaving those cute sandals on the sale rack, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or racking up philanthropic donations $10 at a time – because WE DON’T THINK LITTLE THINGS MATTER. We don’t think little, painless decisions will get us the Bahama-trip big things we want in life. We don’t believe one of life’s most basic rules, and we do believe little things are inconsequential.

But little decisions ARE important. Little slices of self-discipline are of great consequence. They’re a process that adds up to something big, something we really want – living well.

Living well is an eminently obtainable goal for each of us. Interestingly enough, The Blessed people I’ve known often seem even more caught up in the big-thing mentality than the rest of us. So there. We ordinary mortals may even have an edge in getting this concept. Self-discipline in the little things leads to our growing sense of personal responsibility for living within one’s mean: living well and doing our bit to help others live well.

Tell us a heart-warming story of how you or someone you know saved a little money over time to accomplish _______. (Fill-in-the-blank time again.)

red box with white text of Artistotle's quote about excellence being a habit

Aristotle nailed it: practice habitual excellence.

© 2013 Teresa Layne Bennett