top of page

God Bless the Child That's Got His Own

"Them that's got shall get, them that's not shall lose, So the bible says and it's still news. Mama may have, Papa may have, but God bless the child that's got his own." These words are from a song written by the late Billie Holiday. According to her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, "God bless the child that's got his own" were words Billie Holiday's mother hurled at her during a heated argument over money. Holiday caught those words and used them to co-write a song that ended up being honored in the Grammy Hall of Fame and included the list of songs of the century by the Recording Industry Association.

In grappling with the process of the great, or should I say rather the chosen by the great, the words of Holiday's song came to me along with a memory of watching an old sitcom called "Roc" as the song was used as it's original theme song. The show depicted the Iife and struggles of Roc Sinclair, a garbage collector living in a Baltimore apartment with his wife, father, and brother. Roc was a hardworking black man who was not born with a silver spoon or with any of the advantages of the economic elite. He was a man of integrity who made the most out of what he had.

So, let me back up and explain where I was mentally and emotionally when these thoughts came to me and why I believe Holy Spirit led me there. My most prominent muse is my 13 year old son, Ty. God has used him consistently to demonstrate the process of the chosen and favored. Even in my role as his mother, I have learned a great deal from my Abba through parenting my son. The theme, most often, is concerning the favor of God and the gifts/talents he bestows upon his chosen. For Ty, the vehicle of the process has been basketball. I have written in the past about how God has used his basketball journey to reveal biblical principles, you can read more in the blog entitled, "Embrace the Process."

Most recently, Holy Spirit has highlighted and confirmed his favor, covering, and provision when it comes to Ty. Playing basketball year round can get very expensive, along with the extra training sessions needed to continue to build and sharpen a players skill set. Apparently with the approach of summer break, there is also the question of summer camps along with their fees. As I learned when the parents on Ty's team begin to group message about what camps the boys would be attending this summer. I just read along without commenting, clueless to say the least. I must say, I found it intriguing and couldn't help but wonder, "How?" How after all the money spent on travel season, hotel rooms, gas, tournament entry fees, gear, etc. am I still supposed to have money for training and summer camps? Yet, the thought of him missing out on these experiences made me sick to my stomach. I felt like someone punched me in the gut!

It's interesting that such a simple subject and parents' conversations caused such a painful response in me. It was a deep throbbing pain that I am all too familiar with, though I was surprised by its onset. It's the same feeling I'd grown accustomed to as a kid when I had to accept the fact that my mom couldn't afford certain things and I was faced with the fact that we were poor. It's a fact that money can open doors of opportunity that would otherwise be closed and on that day I was saddened by what seemed to me as a door that had just slammed in my face, a door I had not even considered before the text messages had begun. Some opportunities you would not even know existed within your realm of being, thus the importance of relationships with people who broaden your perspective.

As I contemplated our finances and budget, I thought about the kids on a local team my son sometimes plays with when he's not playing with his regular team. I remember watching a game and thinking how much raw talent and skill many of the boys on the team have and wondering if they get opportunities on a bigger stage or elite training sessions to sharpen their skills. Probably not, most are from single parent and/or low income homes like my son. I imagined what exposure could do for these boys and not only basketball exposure but exposure to the arts, to history, to a few college campuses, a science lab or STEM program, etc. What if someone took the limits off?

So, now that I see that there is a door that I had not recognized before how do I get to walk through it? If not prepared to take advantage of the opportunity, then it seemed to me that it may have been better if I'd never known instead of being faced with the fact that I've a lack that I had not previously known even existed. As the tears ran down my face, I heard "Mama may have, and Papa may have but God bless the child that's got his own." God began to remind me of his favor. All the doors that he opened when we could not open them for ourselves. "A man's gift opens door for him, and brings him before great men (Proverbs 18:16)." I've found this to be true, when I looked back and examined my life. Some doors mama couldn't open, some opportunities daddy didn't provide but God had always blessed me from the inside out. Meaning the gifts and talents that he gave me along with the favor (illumination in the sight of those who could give access) that he endowed me with always opened the doors other people used their money or privilege to open. God was doing the same thing for my son and I believe he does it for all of his chosen.

As the favored and chosen of God, we have everything we need to get to our destinies. Much like the principle illustrated in the parable of the talents, if we appreciate and properly care for what we have been given then we can be entrusted with even more. Yet, if we treat our God given gifts and abilities as if they are small and worthless, then the little we have will even be taken away. As Billie Holiday sang, "Them that's got shall get and them that's not shall lose, so the bible says and it's still news! Mama may have, Papa may have, but God bless the child that's got his own." Miss Holiday used her gift to turn pain and process into an award winning song.

God can provide opportunities and favor as a stepping stool to get us started and allow us to see what's out there, but there comes a time when we must also invest in ourselves in order to get to the next level. Once we have seen that the soil is indeed good ground, and acknowledge that God has given us the seed (look closely, sometimes we have assigned the seed for another use, it's okay you can re-budget/re-assign your seed) for surely God giveth seed to the sower. Now all that's left to do is invest your seed and continue to embrace the process. Banish all fear and doubt and trust God for the harvest/increase! Get your seed in the ground. GOD BLESS THE CHILD THAT'S GOT HIS/HER OWN!

bottom of page