“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife” (Proverbs 17:1).
The more toys children have the happier they will be – so this world teaches. Nothing could be farther from the truth! The simple life is the best life to offer them. As they grow up and have more to contend with, the less they appreciate life. While they do have needs, their needs should never be driven by the greed of things. If not careful, our children will serve these things like slaves. It will create a dissatisfied soul. No longer will their life be theirs, it will belong to the master of materialism. And because you have believed the lie that much is better, you will find yourself in the same game of angst.
Too many children, teens and adults are suffering from anxiety and stress these days. In many cases, stress is killing our society – literally! While I do believe that there are some cases where anxiety is a chemical imbalance and cannot be helped but by medication, the majority is self-induced. More of our society is living at an unhealthy pace, as each drives themselves to having more and more things.
I can remember one morning sitting in my living room feeling like a failure as a parent, because I could not give my children all they wanted; I could not afford to purchase all that their friends were able to have. You see, I chose to be a stay-at-home mom; therefore, I gave up a second income that would have afforded us more. And that morning, God showed me this very Proverb, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” Comforted by my heavenly Father, I was re-directed to the simple life – one without strife.
What seemed like our lack was our gain! I have often thought that God deliberately limited our income, so we could be home more, live simply and develop the most important qualities in our children’s lives: relationship, wisdom, and character. I spent most of my days playing with my kids in the backyard, reading to them, homeschooling, teaching them life skills, and wonderful walks to the park. I loved those walks! Oh, I was tired at night, but not because of strife; instead because of my dry crust – my simple yet fruitful days. This doesn’t mean that the temptation to have more did not rear its ugly head, because it did! But thankfully God helped us along with His limitations on our finances and His direction through His word. I realized that I was blessed by my limited resources.
Working with families in Children’s Ministry for many years, I have seen so many stressed. They are running here and there; their children are lonely. Many children grow up in homes feasting off the land, but they are often home alone. Too many do not know their parents as mom and dad; both parents are always working maintaining their lifestyle. Their children know them more as the one who gives the hand out instead of the arm embrace. Loss time and relationship is the cost paid.
The pain in these families causes me great pain. I just want to do what Jesus wanted to do for Israel, “gather them with their children, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but many are not willing.” I can encourage, instruct and direct; I can share my own failures and temptations. But the reality is this: parents need to want the simple life more than the stressed life. It will take giving up the idols of this land to do so. It will take sacrifice; cutting back; but the lack as I said earlier is truly our gain.
I praise you, Jesus, for your limitations and for your clear direction. You are our portion; let nothing take its place!
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