Many of us know of Ebenezer Scrooge from the classic story, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens’, but how many of us identify ourselves with him? Clearly, we’d rather see ourselves in a very different light and for good reason. After all, Scrooge is a mean, stingy, greedy, grumpy old man, who thinks and cares for no one but himself. In fact, he may even remind us of people we don’t care for. However, there are at least five lessons most of us can learn from Scrooge financially, professionally and in life. For when we look closely at ourselves, we may find some startling similarities we can use as motivation to help us change for better years to come:
Attitudes Are Contagious – Have you ever noticed how when some people enter a room, they either brighten it up, or dampen it down? For example, some eagerly share smiles, engage in encouraging conversations and generally show interest in others. However, there are others who jump right into gossip, negative talk and reflect downcast demeanors. Now, consider – which are we? Just as Ebenenzer’s attitude affected those aroProverbs 15:30).und him, both before and after his conversion, so does ours. When we are positive, kind and encouraging whether it be at work, at home, or simply around town, it helps others do the same; but even if it doesn’t, we still don’t have to be the ones to dampen the room, but rather seek to brighten it (
Choices Matter – Ever think how great it would be to redo something differently? When Ebenenzer decided to choose his money over love, it left him in a dark place. Yet, how many times have we misaligned our priorities? We may fool ourselves for awhile, but not many of us want to look back on our lives with nothing to show for it but some money left over. We may think that money will solve all problems, but when it becomes our primary motivator and priority over caring for others and even ourselves, it has typically proven to result in more harm than good (James 1:5).
It’s Better To Give Than Receive – Scrooge is known for his greed. However, in the end, he realizes the power of generosity and as he gives, he grows, and through his generosity, others grow. This is also true for us at work, home and in our communities. When we are generous with our time, talents and treasures, we typically discover an interesting surprise – we realize the joy, fulfillment and goodwill we receive in return far exceeds what we give (Acts 20:35).
Consider The Welfare Of Others – When we focus solely on ourselves and our needs, we miss the opportunities around us that we are uniquely gifted and positioned to help solve. For example, when Scrooge worked Bob Cratchit to the bone, he not only affected his employee, but also his employee’s family. Yet, when he began considering ways he could help Bob and his family, the life of Tiny Tim, Bob’s son, was greatly rewarded. The same is true for us. When we consider others, the affects of our actions not only impacts them, but perhaps even generations to come in ways we could have never imagined (Philippians 2:4). Thus, why let opportunities pass us by by simply focusing on me, myself and I?
It’s Never Too Late To Change – Last, but not least, we see with Scrooge that it’s never too late to change – never. We may think the mistakes we made, the roads we chose and the damages we caused are forever cemented, but thankfully, they are not. Rather, those same mistakes can result it empowering testimonies to help us encourage and elevate others (Luke 22:32).
Application: “Choose Life” – Deuteronomy 30:19
In conclusion, none of us know how much time we have left, but with the time we do have, may we be courageous enough to identify the areas of our life we can improve and then commit to making change. The kind of change that demonstrate happy endings don’t have to be limited to fictional stories, but can happen in reality too when we surrender our life to Christ.