Posted by: Nancy Day-Achauer | August 4, 2009

Out of Whack

     I visited Amish Country lately in Holmes County, OH. I confess to having been a fascinated tourist although I was very careful not to gawk because my mother raised me right. I have always marveled at how the Amish are able to live so simply. They are happy without all the stuff I believe I can’t live without. One of the things I learned is that the Amish do not think that our modern technology and trappings are sinful. As it was explained to me (by a Mennonite), the reason the Amish avoid modern trappings is because those things distract people from what is truly important in life. Simple living enables the Amish to focus on their faith and to live in a way that reflects their Christian values. We could learn a lot from the Amish.

     Consider how much time, energy, and money we have spent in our pursuit of obtaining and maintaining stuff. How many times have we experienced at least a tinge of disappointment about not being able to afford some luxury item or vacation? How many luxury items have we downgraded to being a bare essential? How much money have we wasted on fleeting interests? How much debt have we acquired from our pursuit of more and “better” stuff? How many of us equate our self worth with the stuff we own and the luxuries we enjoy? Our desire for stuff has taken away our freedom and worth and has put us in the bondage of excessive materialism.

     Many people have had to make lifestyle changes because of the economic downturn. I often hear the economic downturn referred to as a “correction.” The economy is apparently correcting itself because society’s greed got the whole system out of whack. I’m not an economist (although I did study economics in college), but this makes sense to me. I’m thinking though that it’s not just the economy that needs correcting – society needs a correction too. We need a correction. Our economy is driven by consumers and investors so if we don’t make a values correction we’ll keep ending up in economic messes like we have now – we’ll continue to be confused about the things in life that are truly valuable. We’re way too focused on trying to find pleasure and self worth in material stuff.

     The Amish are right; all that passion we have for stuff has distracted us from focusing on more important things. The world is full of beauty (beautiful people, beautiful creatures, beautiful nature), all of which have been provided by God for mutual enrichment and joy. We have family and friends who love us and we love them, no expensive stuff required. We have value on our own without worldly trappings because we are all created in the image of our loving God. Know your value and free yourself from the bondage of excessive materialism. Put your energy into what matters, loving the world and our gracious God, and then you will find real happiness.

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Responses

  1. Hi Nancy,
    I read this post earlier today and immediately forwarded the link to the people in my congregation. We had been talking about this very topic in Sunday School on Sunday, and your thoughts reinforce the need to realign our priorities. I appreciated your reflection on “correction.” You are right — like the economy, we all need a correction. Thank you for articulating this.


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