New Living Translation (NLT)
15 For the despondent, every day brings trouble;
for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.
16 Better to have little, with fear for the Lord,
than to have great treasure and inner turmoil.
17 A bowl of vegetables with someone you love
is better than steak with someone you hate.
Now here's a Proverb I can relate to. It's a classic case of the optimist vs. the pessimist. For much of my life, I have had a pessimistic view of the world. I believed in Murphy's Law: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." I'd meet "morning" people and groan at their enthusiasm. Carpe diem? Ha! I still have a hard time seizing anything before 9am. I was just another rat in the race. Working a job I hated, trying to earn more money so I could have a new car, a big house, nice clothes, and for what? Even when I had many of those things, I found that I was more miserable than I'd even been.
It wasn't until I found out that I was pregnant that my perspective on life changed. I always knew that when the time came to have kids, that I wanted to stay home and take care of them. In order to figure out if we could "afford" to do that, we started managing our money differently. The pursuit of acquiring "stuff" became unimportant. We decided to simplify our lives. Now I won't say it's always been easy. And sure there have been times when I've wanted some big ticket item and thought, "If I was working full-time we could get that." But the fact that I can't just go out and make those kinds of impulse buys causes me to have to evaluate whether or not the item is worth the cost. Most of the time the answer is "No."
The funny thing is that when we set out on the quest to simplify, I thought life was going to be worse than ever. We wouldn't have enough money. We wouldn't have [insert name of latest gadget here] We wouldn't have... Turns out I was wrong about that. Way wrong. All of our needs have been provided for. We have food, clothing, shelter. But more important than any material thing...we gave ourselves and our kids the gift of time. Family time. Time to have dinner or go to church or play at the park or read together. And I don't know about you, but I'd rather eat a bowl of broccoli with my husband and my kids than be forced to schmooze clients at some fancy restaurant all in the name of earning the almighty buck.
If you're feeling like a rat in the race this week, maybe it's time to reevaluate what's important. Maybe it's time to trust that God will take care of your needs and let go of your dependence on treasures that you're going to have to leave here when it's time to go to Heaven.
Heavenly Father, Thank You for opening my eyes to the fact that true happiness is found through relationship with You and through relationship with those around us. Lord, You know all of our needs. But this day, we ask for healing for Gary and Louise who are recovery from surgery. We praise You for the news that Rita is cancer-free. We ask for Your comfort and peace for the families of Bill, Sharon and Velma as they mourn the loss of loved ones. Remind us of our need to focus on storing up treasures in Heaven rather than the race to keep up with Jones'. Remind us that your blessings come in so many forms, it's not just monetary, we're blessed with spiritual gifts as well as physical/mental talents. Remind us to use those gifts and talents to bless others and bring glory to Your name. Remind us to be thankful for what we have been given, not to dwell on what we have not. Make us optimists. Give us happy hearts despite the trials that are thrown our way. Remind us to put our trust in You. Amen.