16 Better a little with the fear of the LORD
than great wealth with turmoil.
17 Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred.
Doing the little things matter. In God’s economy, the little things, done sincerely, matter more to Him than the big, hairy, audacious achievements.
In 1987, the Danish movie Babette’s Feast premiered. Surprisingly, the low-budget movie went on to win an Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film the following year. Set in the 19th century, the movies tell the story of a French woman, Babette, who works as a servant in a small remote, religious Danish village.
Since the village was poor, Babette, was willing to work without wages. She laboured willingly for 14 years. She lived and served for two kind-hearted sisters, who happen to be spinsters. Their father, now dead, was then the pastor of the village. As the story unfolds, it was about kindness and love overcoming prejudices.
One day Babette received a letter from her nephew in Paris. Reading the letter, Babette was stunned – she had won a lottery for 10,000 francs! Taking inflation into consideration, it would amount to about RM18,000 today. That is a huge sum of money then! The money could have changed Babette’s life entirely.
To celebrate, Babette offers to cook a special French dinner for the village elders at her expense, in memory of her hosts’ father. Though initially reluctant, the spinsters agreed.
The night of the dinner was special. They also had a special guest – a French Army general, known to the villagers. The dinner went well. Everyone enjoyed the dishes with some of the finest wine from France.
After the guests have left, the spinsters were appreciative and thanked Babette sincerely for the wonderful dinner. However, the sisters now expected Babette to leave them, and return to France with the money she won.
It was then Babette revealed (sorry for the spoiler) that she had used her entire winnings on the dinner. She didn’t spare any money for herself! What a shocker! Now, some might say that is a wasteful thing to do. But she simply wanted to show her gratitude to the two sisters.
Proverbs 15:16-17 tells us that it is better to have little, with fear of the Lord, than much wealth. Yes, great wealth can cause distress, leading to the fear of losing it all (v16).
But when one has little, there is nothing to fear as there’s not much to lose.
In the same vein, it is better to cook a simple meal of vegetables, as long as it is done with love (v17). I am certain that none of us will really be able to enjoy a sumptuous, delicious meal if we know it was done with hatred and contempt.
I enjoy the simple things in life. I would rather a simple meal with a smile than a delicious dinner with the finest French wine served with a scowl.
Babette did an amazing thing. She cooked the best French dinner, with the finest of wines, wearing a smile. Unfortunately, none of the dinner guests, knew about Babette’s sacrifice, except for the hosts. What Babette did, came from her heart. Babette didn’t hold back. She was just grateful to her two willing hosts who took care of her.
What about us? How will we show our appreciation to our Maker? Our God doesn’t need meals to be served. He only requires a cheerful heart. A heart filled with gratitude. A heart that loves Him and obeys Him only. Is that too difficult for us? Rest assured, the little things that we do, matter a lot to God.
Prayer: O Lord, I confess I have sometimes looked at doing the big things. Sometimes I wanted human praise. Now I know all I need is praise from You, and You alone. Forgive me, Lord. Help me to be faithful in little thing s. Help me to serve You willingly, not grudgingly. In Jesus’ name, I ask. Amen.
By Prathab V
箴言 15: 16-17