Good morning to you, all of you who support Gina's beautiful blog here at Contemplating Beauty! My name is Amie and I am the blogger of A Meaning of Optimist, and I have been blessed just like you by Gina's encouraging words and inspiring photos. Right now, she is in Greece celebrating her union with her hubby (10 year anniversary!!) and has honored me to guest post on her blog while she is away.
Today I want to talk about a very well-known yet very misunderstood topic. Actually, I would go as far as saying that this topic is not only misunderstood, but extremely under-rated. It has become a fine jewel, however, to those who find it and know it's true identity. And whoever possesses it becomes the most popular kid on the block. Because once someone has "it", others begin to notice and then they want "it" too, but alas, they will not find "it" because they look in the wrong places. And sometimes, people will live their whole lives trying to find it but will die without it.
Think about it. Peace is more mysterious than we give it credit for, and our country is overflowing with people who are desperately searching for it, not like it's not obvious. We are the nation of the Busy Bees. Did you know that we are the ONLY nation that works as hard and long as we do? We do not get breaks like other nations, we work and work and work. Other nations give their workers major time-off, and sure we may have more money than most, but how do we get it? By working our tails off! Sure, we have more toys and junk than all the other countries but how do we get it? By working our tails off! And by the end of the day, what do we have to comfort us after a long day's work? Money. Cold hard cash. Comfy huh?
I remember watching a documentary a few years ago, I wish I remember what it was called because it was mind-blowing to me. It was a film to compare the poorest of the poor in Africa to our rich lifestyles here in America. They took a few poor men from the poorest area of Africa, who literally had nothing but a few pieces of cloth, and flew them to America to work and get money. They were trained and had full-time jobs and were making more money than they had ever dreamed. And they HATED it. One of the gentlemen said, "Americans might be rich, but there is no time for family, no time for anything. All they do is work and work, and for what? How can Americans live this way? The people we work with aren't happy, the people on the streets aren't happy, Americans just do not seem like very happy people."
(Since I haven't seen it in a couple years, I am sure those aren't all the exact words, but I'm darn close to what he meant.)
They, shortly after, returned home. They had nothing but the clothes on their backs, but they had something we Americans can't seem to find: peace. They had no iphones that kept beeping at them, no crazy work schedule or demands, no car payments to worry about. Instead, they were welcomed back to dozens (literally, I couldn't keep count) of friends and family. After they did their family duties of watering the animals and fetching food, they danced around the fire and celebrated. They did this daily, people, daily! You couldn't have seen happier people, people who were at peace. Do we Americans dance and celebrate like that? Heck no. Because we are too busy thinking about the next day, too busy working, too busy keeping up with everyone else in this "bigger, better" mindset.
There was someone else who walked this earth who had the same mindset as these African men. He was the one who said to the rich men, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 timothy 6:6-10
We can learn a valuable lesson from the men in Africa. They were thankful and knew what they had, they had relationships, family, love. They were provided for and celebrated it every night! Jesus told us that we will gain plenty if we are content with what we have. We do not have to go out and sell everything we own, but the question is, is that if Jesus asked you to give it all up...would you?
My hubby and I have been v.e.r.y. blessed when it comes to peace. But nobody on the outside would think that, actually, we have had family and friends feel sorry for us because of our circumstances. But we ourselves knew the blessing was true. Ever since we got married (about 3 years ago), we have been dirt poor. We have one cell phone that we share and one car that we share also. We barely have enough to save, but we have been provided for. We started out our marriage realizing true peace, about finding our contentment with what the Lord has already given us. We found out how much fun putting puzzles together was, or playing cards in the morning because we didn't have tv to watch. And because we know how lucky we are to have what we have, we are so thankful to Christ for always making sure our bills are paid (the few bills that we have) and that we can get groceries every week. I praise Jesus for being good to us!!
So, do you have peace? The deep peace that brings you warmth and contentment? I hope the folks in Africa have encouraged you as much as they have me, to know how precious peace and contentment is. Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting Gina's blog!