God bless the child that’s got his own

by | Apr 10, 2023 | Faith, Nature | 4 comments |

In the glow of our own (adjective) Easter celebrations, I’m pondering what I own (verb) and what’s my own (pronoun).

My own in the first half of life

Them that’s got shall get
Them that’s not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own

-Billie Holiday

When my children were young, I told them not to expect other people to give them things, especially money. “Prepare yourselves to earn your own living,” I said. “God bless the child that’s got his own. Learning to take care of yourself is part of growing up.” 

Appropriate advice for the first half of life.

Strictly speaking, the Bible passage Billie Holiday referred to says, For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. (Matthew 25:29 NIV) In other words, those who improve on what is given to them will receive more; those who do not use their own gifts will have them pass away from them.

My gifts are my own

God blesses each of us with our own gifts. I sang before I talked, a good not a great talent as it turned out. But in kindergarten during the Christmas Pageant, I didn’t want to sing, because playing the triangle held me in thrall. Though blessed to be able to sing—which I did reluctantly that day—I did not understand that ability was not mine to own. It was given so I could share.

It takes at least a lifetime to discover our own God-given gifts. We have to pay attention rather than coast through the routines of life – the theme of Thornton Wilder’s Our TownOr the theme of nature that we see all around us today here at Vanaprastha. Notice, notice, notice, whisper the bottlebrush buckeye, fothergilla, and wild azealia buds, swaying in the breeze. God has created us each with our own complex beauty.

Thank goodness for wise second-half-of-life mentors to guide us toward good observation.

My own in the second half of life

I’ve been blessed throughout my life with wise mentors—teachers who guided me in my profession and spiritual mentors. In turn, I’ve shared with others. Last month, I was interviewed by a fellow seeker and teacher, Lisa Lewis, host of the Let Go, Lean In Podcast. Click here to listen.

While we chatted, I thought about what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19b. You are not your own…

This perspective changes everything. My own (adjective) gifts are to be used and shared with others; what I own (verb) is the will to attend to God’s creation; my life is not my own (pronoun).

Linkup with Five Minute Friday: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2023/04/06/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-own/


  1. Gary Fultz

    Sometimes, if not usually, lifes realities (at least the depths of them) such as this, are hard to pass on to the next generation without a fair amount of self discovery over a long period of time. In saying this I’m trying to give myself a break.

    • Carole Duff

      Amen, Amen, Gary!

  2. aschmeisser

    I have everything I need,
    some beautiful, some badly flawed,
    and they will stay mine indeed
    if just give it all to God.
    Surrender, it comes back around,
    healed, and set before my face
    with that lovely swishing sound,
    the boomerang of grace.
    And so I’ll gladly let it go,
    ash to ash and dust to dust,
    and waving Bye I smile and know
    that it’s all held in trust,
    safe-held in the mighty hands
    of He who loves, and understands.

    • Carole Duff

      Oh, how I love this, especially “the boomerang of grace.” Thank you SO much for sharing! -C.D.


Leave a Reply

Meet Carole


Let's Connect

Favorite Subjects