When Kathy and I first got married, we lived in a little house on Orange Street in Abilene. We didn’t have much. She was working for $50 a week at the public relations department at Abilene Christian. I was going to school and working part-time at Gibsons Discount Center.

Danny Minton

Danny Minton

We didn’t have a lot of bills, but it was enough for a young college couple, I was 21, and she was 19, to have to struggle to make ends meet. Our rent was $60 per month, and we were paying one of our old high school teachers $50 per month for a used car we had bought from them. I was able to purchase an old window air conditioner for the bedroom. We also splurged after the first six months and got a telephone. The biggest mistake that probably put us in a bind was buying a stereo and charging it. That was an extra $10 per month that we put out. Nowadays that doesn’t sound like a lot of money but remember to us that was a full day’s pay for Kathy or a couple of days of my part-time pay.

There was one month that we got down to the last couple of days and we were out of funds. The bills were paid, but we had absolutely no money to buy food, and it was a couple of days before either of us got paid. We had very little food in the house. There was no meat or vegetables, only a few eggs, a little milk, and cornbread. So I remember the night before we got paid the next day, our supper was simply a plate of cornbread. That’s it. There was no meat, no vegetables, no desert only cornbread and water to drink.

As I look back, I guess we could have called our parents and gotten some help, but we didn’t. We could have gone to the church, and I’m sure they’d have helped us out, but we didn’t. We even had friends that would have fed us, but we didn’t ask. We even could have gotten an advance on her paycheck, but we didn’t think of that either.

I guess we were college student poor. But you know, I believe that those were some of the happiest times of our lives. Happiness wasn’t centered around the things we had or didn’t have. Oh, we wanted these things but weren’t obsessed with obtaining them. I was going to school to be a preacher. We wanted to share Christ with the world. We had cornbread, but more importantly, we had each other.

When our priorities become the things of this world, we easily lose focus on the things that are important. Our wives, our husbands, our children, our families are much more important than the physical things of this world. They are our treasures. Happiness comes, not from the riches we can obtain in this world, but from the loving relationships that we can grow with each other.

As a child, we look forward to receiving gifts at Christmastime. We told Santa everything we wanted but really didn’t need. We got excited by the packages wrapped in red ribbon under a fresh smelling fir tree. We counted the days, and on Christmas morning we’d wake early and rush to open our gifts. But as we get older Christmastime becomes more than receiving. We give watching the eyes of the young ones brighten with joy. We realize as the Grinch did, “that Christmas didn’t come from a store. Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!” Our gifts mean less as we grow older and look to the relationship of just being with family and friends. Our Christmas memories are not what we received, but the great times we had with family over the years. Our treasures are the people we love, not the presents under the tree. This year stop and just look at those around you whom you love and thank God for the gifts he has given you.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21

Sometimes in my hectic world, I think it would be nice to go back and have cornbread for supper.

Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ


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