One mark off

For the longest time, while we were living on McConnell Avenue, there was a little bookshelf next to the dining room table.

This bookshelf was handy, not only for holding various cookbooks (which I have proudly passed on to my children, save one), but for one of my all-time favorite books: the dictionary. I know as as good Christian missionary I should say the Bible, but that’s a recent addition to my daily reading. The dictionary has been a close ally for most of my life, and it was sure nice to have an arm-lengths away during dinner to end all debates.

Words always have intrigued me, and that includes other languages. I don’t always use the correct word, but still words constantly pique my interest.

Take the words "what" and "that," for example. The first meaning for "what" is asking for information specifying something. The first meaning for "that" is to identify a specific person or thing observed by the speaker.

To me, it’s amazing how close both in meaning and spelling. Just one letter makes a big difference.

It’s even closer in Spanish: Qué is translated what while que is that. One little mark makes a bit of a difference. I can’t even put in the accent mark using this blog; I’m having to write this on Google docs, insert an E with an accent mark and hope it translates to the blog when I copy and paste.

The thing that got me thinking about "what" and "that" was a devotion at PROVEE. It got me thinking about a mindset some people have with their possessions. The emphasis is more on WHAT they have in their lives, which can either lead to the problem of more (in other words they will never be satisfied and always striving to have more) or comparing their things to others and feeling inadequate.

However, emphasizing THAT they have things and, more importantly, people in their lives leads to not only being thankful but, I believe, more sharing of things and time.

While I was working in the States, I often said to myself and others, "it's not what you do but how you do it." I have now adapted that mindset to my possessions: It's not that you have things but what you do with them.

“I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9).

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