Archive for January, 2021

The Year is now 2021 – the Year then was 1929

I have a treasured book in my library. It is a compilation of stories gathered by the children and grandchildren of people who lived through the Great Depression. The title is “We Had Everything But Money”. I have read this book several times and am rereading it again. Why? For two reasons: for the money saving tips contained within and for the uplifting accounts of how real people made the best of a bad time.

We are not in what has been defined as “the Great Depression”, but we are possibly headed for another one. The stark differences between the culture then and the culture now are disturbing to me. The truth of every story in this book is that people helped people. They looked for ways to help. They were doing whatever they could to stay away from government assistance. The creative ways these dear people had for keeping their families together and feeding them was nothing short of miraculous. Even the children were actively involved and their memories of that time was good.

Obviously, not everyone was kind and helpful during the Great Depression. There were indeed suicides and much hopelessness and sadness. For those who lived in loving families, however, the parents endured the pain, doing their best to ensure that their children had what they really needed – their love.

Examine some of the ending remarks of the writers of these accounts:

  • “The only thing we have to fear,” the President [President Roosevelt] said, “is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
  • The helping hands that assisted my parents encouraged them to keep farming, and they stayed at it for many more years.
  • As we look back now on those long-ago years, we realize they weren’t all so bad. We not only survived; we may well have become better and stronger people for the experience.
  • In both good times and bad, our parents always had time for us. We never had much money, but we had all the love any parents could possibly give their children.
  • None of these jobs [WPA] paid more than a few dollars, but they did offer the dignity of work for pay, and proved to be the salvation of many.
  • Still, thanks to the generosity of those who shared their food with us, I can honestly say I never went hungry.
  • My grandparents taught me a lot about life. They taught me not to judge a book by its cover, and that money means nothing compared to decency and character.
  • I was only 9 years old, but I learned several lessons from these wanderers that have stayed with me all my life: keep your pride, be grateful for gifts, and use your initiative and skills to provide for your family.
  • There may have been a shortage of money, but there was never a shortage of love and caring, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
  • And many, many more.

There are many things we can learn from this period in our history. If our culture now was the same as it was back then, it is evident that there would be a lot less complaining and a heap more ingenuity. I pray for that.

Is There Hope for 2021?

What a year 2020 has been! There is no one who would argue that it has been an incredibly hard year – not only in America, but around the world. We made it through it, but do we have hope for any good changes in the year ahead?

None of us can predict the future, but what we can do is do today what is necessary to make 2021 the best year we can. How can we do that? I believe that is through personal stewardship. Stewardship is the responsible and careful management of something entrusted to your care. What DO you have control over? Are you a spouse, a parent, a grandparent, a responsible citizen? Many people lost their jobs and/or their businesses in 2020. Despair, discouragement and a feeling of hopelessness would be natural in that circumstance. But those feelings can be overcome by looking to God for help and guidance.

On my other website, http://www.onefocusministries.com, I just posted a devotional that I would like to share with you, hoping that you will find encouragement in it. Look under “Reflective Focus” to see that post – “Claim God’s Promises in 2021”.

This, however, is a blog designed to help you stretch your money. How can you do that when you don’t have any money to stretch? How many times can you be told to reuse, recycle and make it yourself?

The key to good stewardship is to think about what you have already and how you can use those things to help your family, your neighbors and your friends. What have you been entrusted with? On http://www.onefocusministries.com, on the home page, there is a search feature. If you query “stewardship”, you will pull up everything written on that site about the subject. In 2020, it is possible you may have lost some possessions or a job or even a home, but you did not lose the ability to start the new year with the right attitude.

Flowers still bloom in the spring, birds still sing in the morning and God is still on His throne!

May God bless you and guide you as you enter this new year.