T. Pierce Brown

When I was growing up on a little farm in Walling,Tennessee, I accidentally learned something from my father that has been of value to me ever since, and which I have tried to teach my children, grandchildren and students.

Until I was about 6 years old we were sharecroppers. We did not get much of the share, but we did a lot of “cropping.” But when we would load a wagon load of corn to take to the owner’s barn, my father would always raise up the sideboard on the wagon bed by sticking an ear of corn under it so the land-owner would always get what was due him, and then some. When we would throw shocks of hay on the wagon to take to his barn, I would notice that we always threw an extra shock or two on the wagon that went to the barn of the landowner. I never asked my father why. But I knew he always gave the owner all that was due him and then some.

When I was about 7 years old, I began to read the New Testament through and found that Jesus had said in Matthew 5:40-41, “And if any man should go to law with thee, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him twain.” I do not know that my father was deliberately practicing that principle, but I began to deliberately practice it.

When I finished the eighth grade, since the cost was $5 per month to ride the bus toSpartato high school, I did not have that much money, so I went back to the 8th grade. My report card usually only showed “B” or “C” grade. But I began to use the principle of “and then some” in my schoolwork. If we had ten words to learn how to spell, I would learn 20. Guess who won every spelling “bee”? It worked so well, I began to do it when I got to high school. If my math teacher assigned 10 problems, I would do 15 — not for him, but for me. I did not make the honor roll because I was smart. As they said in those days, “I didn’t know from nothing.” I made it because I practiced the principle I had learned from Jesus and from my father.

When I got in the Air Force, I knew that I was mentally and physically inferior to many that were trying to be officers. So I would arise an hour before they did, run around the track 5 miles before the rest of them got out of bed. I do not know that it ever made any difference in how far or how fast I advanced in rank, but it made a difference in me.

This principle was what made the Macedonians praiseworthy as indicated in 2 Corinthians 8:3, ” For according to their power, I bear witness, yea and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, beseeching us with much entreaty in regard of this grace and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints: and this, not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God.” They gave what they might have been expected to give, and then some.

Any Christian who truly follows Christ in his example and teaching will never be satisfied to do only what all Christians are normally expected to do, but will find himself doing all that may be expected, and then some. One reason is found in Luke17:10,”Even so ye also, when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do.”

When we look at any truly great men, in or out of the Bible, we will find that they practiced that principle. If we can teach our children those three little words, and get them to practice them, they will always excel in whatever they do. Though they may not have brilliant minds, they will be classed among those who do have. So always strive to do what you can, where you are, with what you have — and then some. If you do that, you will discover another fantastic truth. God will enable you to do what you can not do, as he enabled Peter to walk on the water. And he will enable you to do it with what you do not have, for he will provide what you need but do not have, as he did with the little lad with 5 loaves and 2 fishes with which 5000 were fed.

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