Sunday, March 18, 2012

Simple Gifts

 Lately, I've had to remind myself to think like a Christian and not like an overly entitled American.  I found myself recently feeling rather poor and deprived.  I see people on HGTV go into houses and turn their noses up at "outdated" appliances newer than mine.  I see young couples buying their first home, and these homes are more often than not three times the size of mine.  I find myself wondering where these people get their money and why don't we have some of it.  I look around and most people have smart phones, net books, and ipods.  I see people dropping $300+ on a simple handbag, while I'm buying mine from some place like K-Mart and paying only $15.  Yes, I'm poor, deprived and to be pitied. 

Fortunately, these feelings were short-lived, although I'd rather they hadn't popped up at all.  We are supposed to take joy in sharing in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings, and one of those sufferings was His poverty.  Imagine. Christ, the sovereign King of the universe came down to Earth and was born into abject poverty and filth.  And, I'm complaining because I have Formica counter tops instead of granite????  How spoiled and attached to worldly things I have become!  How soon we forget our brothers and sisters in other countries (or even stateside) who live in what can only correctly be termed as squalor.  When I come to the end of my life, I'm not going to be saying that my life would have been complete if only I had stainless steel appliances and a perfectly manicured lawn.  I'm going to be regretting all the time I have wasted on the meaningless and trivial emptiness we call "stuff." 

So, yes, I'm middle class.  I could even be considered on the low end of middle class.  I'm a far cry from a Poor Clare, but I am happy where God has placed and what He has graciously given me.  I want to embrace God, not things.

Simple Gifts
'Tis the gift to be simple,
'Tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
to bow and to bend, we will not be ashamed
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning, we come round right.

 Simple Gifts was written by Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr. in 1848. It was first published in The Gift to be Simple: Shaker Rituals and Songs.

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