It takes discipline…

“The hardest thing is to take less when you can get more.”  (Kin Hubbard) – quote used in the Jack’s Winning Words blog some time back.

People taking more when they eat, instead of taking less, is the root cause of a much of the current obesity problem in America. The proof of that is the success of the various weight loss programs and products, all of which impose some discipline on the practitioners. I recall my mother saying to me, on occasions when I took too much and couldn’t finish a meal, “Your eyes were bigger than your stomach.”  If one does that often enough, the stomach grows to accommodate the eyes.

The same quote might be used  for many things in life. Many have the tendency to take as much as they can get, rather than leave some for someone else or to share with someone else. In basketball, a player might be called a “ball hog”, if he/she consistently tries to score themselves, rather than make a pass to another player who might be open for a shot. In business, one might be thought of as a “grandstander”, if he/she takes all of the credit for what was a team effort. In life in general, it is the willingness to share, to give to good causes or to make sacrifices so that others might benefit that defines taking less. It is somewhat rare for small children to share what they think is theirs and some never grow out of those feelings of possessive greed.

As Christians, we are called (indeed instructed) to take less and give more. When the rich man asked Jesus what he need to do to get into heaven and Jesus told him to sell everything that had and give the money to the poor, he wandered away in dismay, because he could not give up what he had. We are not called upon to give up everything that we have; yet, in a way, we are. We are called upon to let go of the need to have everything and to refocus instead upon doing good wherever and whenever we can. We are called upon to have discipline and compassion and to let them guide our actions, instead of greed.

So, maybe we should recast Hubbard’s quote to read – “The hardest thing is to keep less, when we should be giving more.”

Jesus never said it would be easy to follow Him; but he did promise the greatest reward of all, if you do. Do you have the discipline to take less?

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