Learning to live on less gives new perspective

Posted: Friday, March 27, 2009

Recently my son returned home from traveling overseas.

His trip was not necessarily about seeing the world although he saw a lot I have never seen. His trip was to what is called a "developing nation," although that nation is centuries older than our own.

The people that live there live a different standard of life. They generally are not encumbered with cell phones, Internet, Blue-ray, flat-screen television, Wiis, cars or other things that occupy a "developed" nation.

He went to volunteer at a children's orphanage. Within a day of arriving he said the children taught him "about a hundred different games using only a rope." He confessed these children could out do him in every one. His observation was that the children were never bored, they never lacked for things to do, they did not whine or complain even though their personal possessions were a couple changes of clothes, a cup, a plate and a rope.

These children were better off than many due to the orphanage, they were able and excited to go to school and wear their uniforms. They ate their simple meals with no fuss or refusal and their smiles seemed like permanent fixtures on their faces. In short, they are full of life.

Listening to a month's worth of stories and adventures I had much to think about. It is inevitable when hearing such things to compare them to our own world.

The obvious comparison might be that we live in a world that can't seem to have enough, to the point we are in financial crisis because we have reached for more beyond our ability to pay.

Jesus' words may apply more to our "developed" world than their "less developed" world:

And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." Luke 12:15 (NKJV)

We seem to have taken the position that our lives do consist of the abundance of the things we possess.

The irony to this kind of life is we fret about how we will pay for our possessions and our marriages are stressed because there isn't enough money to meet obligations.

Families lose out as we work harder to make the money we need but don't have the time to use the things we have. Our lives may be full of things but become empty of life.

I do not want to live with one change of clothes or without my car or other nice things. However, I can live a more simple life, stay out of debt, turn my cell phone off once in a while and learn how to do with less.

What will I do with all that money I save? Maybe I will sponsor a child.

What could you do with more time and more money through a simpler life?

The Rev. Stephen Brown ministers at the Kenai New Life Assembly of God, 209 Princess St. in Kenai. www.kenainewlife.org.

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