One little thing, treasures, and a legacy

Years ago, I read an interview with Deen Day Sanders from which I copied down several quotes. I came across them again recently while looking for something else in one of my journals. I believe the original source was Southern Living Magazine. Her first husband, Cecil Day, was the founder of Days Inns, the story of which is fascinating and perhaps the basis for a future post. After his death, Mrs. Sanders ran the mammoth Days Inns and has since used the proceeds from the sale for good in ways only heaven knows the extent.

One of the quotes has for many years served as a guidepost for me. No matter what the level of your resources are, it is a nugget of wisdom from this Godly woman.

She said, “The only thing that wealth does is give you more options about what you can do. But you have to do it in service to other people, and service is where you get the value out of life. I just feel that as long as you are giving, that’s real living.

I think Christ gave us a clear message to serve. I have a personal commitment to service because I think people all make choices. And those choices can involve self-indulgence or self-promotion. You have to be other centered more than self-centered.”

I have never met her (though I would like to) but from everything I read she has lived by those words for a lifetime now.

Mrs. Sanders implies in her words that wealth doesn’t bring you happiness, but it gives you the choice to serve—to help others. And as she says the real value, the real joy, is in giving.

The legacy we leave will not be in our stuff, it will be in the things we have done for others. And it’s never too early or late in our lives to think of how we will steward the resources God has given us—great or small.

This woman of faith also said, “If everyone did one little thing that would affect tomorrow, we would have a better world.”

What is our one little thing?

What can we do today that will change tomorrow?

I often hear folks say their legacy is their children. But I’m not sure we can think of our legacy in those very strict terms. We are faced with choices every day that offer opportunities to affect the future—something to think about.

This year, the Porcelain and Decorative Arts Museum opened at the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia. Deen Day Sanders donated her life’s collection of porcelain to the museum and helped facilitate its construction. Jerry and I toured it shortly after it opened. It was a wonder. The tree picture is from the museum and another example of how Mrs. Sanders hasn’t held on to the things she’s loved but given them away so that others might enjoy them, as well.

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Jesus's words press in on my heart ever calling me to consider how I'm handling my blessings and where I'm putting my treasures. So, here’s to the one little thing, treasures in heaven, and being thankful for the legacy of giving Deen Day Sanders imparts to us.

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is also available as well as her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit

Beverly Varnado copyright 2022   



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