Elbert Green Hubbard (1856–1915) was an American writer, publisher, and artist, He and his second wife, Alice Moore Hubbard, died aboard the RMS Lusitania when it was sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland on May 7, 1915.
But during the years before his untimely and tragic death, Hubbard had visited the elegant homes of many of the world’s richest families. As a result, he published a fourteen-volume work titled: Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great. After seeing all the luxury in the mansions of these titans of industry and commerce, he made the statement: “I would rather be able to appreciate things I can not have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.”
How true this should be for all of us. As a young man, I was what one of those you’d call a “Car Guy.” Before I knew how to drive, I would visit all the car dealerships where I lived when the new cars came out and collect brochures showing their latest models. As I leafed through the pages, I wondered what it would be like to own a Cadillac Eldorado or Lincoln Imperial or Ford Continental Mark II. Every time I’d see one on the street I’d stand and stare.
My first car was a 1949 Oldsmobile that I bought for $75. It was sitting up on blocks in a neighbor’s driveway. I think he took the money just so I’d haul it away because it didn’t run and had holes in the floorboard. But with a little hard work changing the spark plugs, the points, the timing, the battery and putting in new oil and a filter, I got it to running again. It had a sun visor over the windshield, but that wasn’t enough, I put visors over the headlights and mudflaps behind the wheels.
When I drove into the parking lot of my high school with my beauty, I noticed everyone looking at the preacher kid’s car, especially the girls. With my shoulders back I walked into school as proud as I could be. But still, whenever I saw a luxury car go by I’d still stare at it. Not with greed, but with awe and appreciation. Did I hope one day I may have one? Yes! Of course! But did that make me not appreciate the old Oldsmobile I had? Not in the least!
Too often people are so enamored and jealous of what others have they lose all appreciation for what they do have. Once you no longer value something as being precious to you, you lose interest and are then prone to abandon it. What a terrible state to be in! You’re unhappy that you don’t have what you can’t afford, and at the same time, miserable about what you can afford. In that state of mind, you’ll end up letting everything that counts in your life decline to the point where it’s of no use to you.
Some men are pathetic because their wife is not like someone else’s, and many a woman is upset because her husband is not some other woman’s. The same goes for kids, families, houses, jobs, etc., etc. King Solomon said it is better to be poor and content than to be rich and always wanting more.1 He also said that if you have what you need to live comfortably, you will be happy that God blessed you with what you had to work for. In other words, it’s hard to appreciate something given to you out of pity rather than earning it with lots of sweat and hard work.
The Apostle Paul once told the church members in Philippi that he knew what it was to have very little, but also what it was like to have all he needed to be comfortable. It taught him to be satisfied with whatever he had to meet the needs of the moment. But one thing for sure, he would not be able to live with such piece of mind if it wasn’t for the Lord’s help.2 So the next time you want to thank God for His blessings in your life, just tell Him you’re happy with what you have. Then watch out, He just may give you something you’ve wanted for a long time.3 – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1 Proverbs 28:6
2 Philippians 4:12-13
3 Psalm 37:4