Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant

This old proverb is one that we don’t here very often in our fast-paced 21st century. But it is well worth bringing back into use. Because it is attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson, and seemingly no one else, and because it agrees in principle with other Stevenson sayings, though the actual source is allusive, it is quite likely that it came from him. Also, because he was Scottish, this is listed as a Scottish proverb. It has great depth of meaning, and goes back to the biblical principle, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” 

As members of this holy order, each day of our lives
should include planting some seeds of faith, hope and love.

Where there’s a will there’s a way

I am
planning on using this old proverb in my local newspaper column soon, and I
thought it would be appropriate here as well. It’s one
my mama “told me a hundred times if she told me once!” She wanted to make sure
I never gave up on something that I needed or wanted to do even when it seemed
like it was impossible. It goes right along with “If at first you don’t succeed
try, try again!” And it has been in use for a long, long time. The
earliest reference to a version of it is in Jacula Prudentum, or Outlandish
Proverbs and Sentences by George Herbert in 1640; it is number 730: 

      “To him that will, wais are not wanting. William C. Hazlitt used our modern version in New Monthly Magazine published in London in February 1822:

“Where there’s a will,
there’s a way.—I said so to myself, as I walked down Chancery-lane…to
inquire…where the fight the next day was to be.”

In the 20th century there are plenty of examples including this
citation in Good Night Little Spy by
German-born Canadian author Eric Koch in 1979:

      “I’ve no idea how it
can be done.

Forgive and forget

We have all been
told that we should not hold grudges. But for many this seems easier said than
done. This saying
itself, in reverse, was first coined in English by Shakespeare in King Lear written between 1603 and 1606,
and published in 1608:

     “Pray you now, forget and forgive.”

Then used by Miguel
de Cervantes in El Ingenioso hidalgo don
Quixote de la Mancha, first published in Spanish also in the early 17th
century, (1605, 1615) and translated into English shortly thereafter (1612,
“Let us forget and forgive

The roots of
this saying, however, come from the Bible. Forgiving is a command of Jesus found in Matthew

“For if ye
forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

It goes on to
tell us that God will not forgive those who are not forgiving of others.

Money can’t buy happiness

In this world so
much emphasis has been put on monetary wealth that a person’s worth and success
is often gauged by how much money and possessions they have accumulated. Even
some religious groups have claimed that this is a sign of God’s blessings. No truer proverb
has ever been coined than “Money can’t buy happiness.” Genuine contentment and
peace of mind must come from spiritual means. The root came from Rousseau’s Discours in Spain in 1750.     
“Money buys everything, except morality and citizens.”

The Bible makes
it clear that our hearts must not be set on riches, and that a rich man can’t
enter into the kingdom of God.

We shouldn’t blow our own horn

“Don’t blow your own
horn, or trumpet,” is metaphor found originally in the Bible. In Matthew 6:2,), in
the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns against the practice of proclaiming our
own virtues to be praised by others for our charitable gifts using strikingly
similar phraseology. The New World
Translation is closest on this:

“…When you go making gifts of mercy, do not blow a trumpet ahead of you, just
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be
glorified by men…” Remember that the
original text on this was written in the early 1st century, so
naturally the wording would be slightly different, but the meaning is the same. So let us be humble and
thankful for all God has blessed us with and give of ourselves without

Attitude of gratitude

members of this holy order we all surely realize that our attitude at all times
is an important factor in our success. And being thankful is a virtue which we
are told in Scripture to have as Christians.   

universal cliché, ‘attitude of gratitude’ is an admonition to think positive
and be grateful for all one has. These two words have been used in relation to
one another for hundreds of years, but the earliest citation known of them in a
very similar connection is from Historical
Sketches of the Ten Miles Square Forming the District of Columbia by
Jonathan Elliott, 1830, on page 116 under ‘Landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth
Rock,’ in regard to the carving over the door leading to the Eastern Portico on
the Capitol Rotundo:

“Behind, in the boat, looking towards heaven, with an eye and attitude of devotional gratitude, for deliverance
from the sufferings and hardships of the voyage, stands his wife…”

The Science of Getting Rich, 1910, by
Wallace D. Wattles, page 29, he wrote what may be the earliest exact citation
of the current saying:

“The more gratefully we fix our minds on the Supreme when
good things come to us, the more good things we will receive, and the more
rapidly they will come; and the reason simply is that the mental attitude of gratitude draws the mind into closer touch
with the source.”

We know that the true
source of all good is God. May He give you an attitude of gratitude at all

Make the “short rows” count

I used a version
of this in my last newspaper column. I believe it is also appropriate here. I suppose a lot
of you, like me, were brought up on a farm. Younger ones likely still can’t
relate to it because methods of tending crops have changed. Back in my day, we
grew large fields of corn and big gardens which were hand planted and weeds
were periodically removed using a hoe.