“’Tis the gift to be simple, ‘Tis the gift to be free, ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, and when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.” (Simple Gifts, by Joseph Brackett)
“Simple Gifts” is a song composed in 1848 and is attributed to Joseph Brackett. I love that the second line is, “Tis the gift to be free.” We aren’t free when we are busy coveting things or buying things we can't afford. It doesn’t feel free when we can’t afford the car payment because we bought a car that is not within our budget. It doesn’t feel free when we have so much in credit card bills that we know we would in real trouble if we got sick or lost our job. Debt and envy feel like traps. They are suffocating.
I would like you to consider Matthew 6:21, which says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Are we spending our money in a way that is reflective of what our heart values? In our house we have to consider that if we buy more new clothes and newer things, we won’t have the money to donate to the causes that we care about. Our bank statement won’t be a reflection of what we value – which is generosity and people. It will reflect that we value things more.
When we do the work and break the cycle of want, we feel free. The best way to break that cycle is to focus on what we do have. Gratitude is the antidote to envy.
What have you been blessed with? If it's helpful, make a list. The world is a marketplace, yelling for you to notice what you don’t have and attempting to make you feel like you are lacking. It screams, “this next toy will make you happy!” We all know that is a trick. It may give momentary happiness, but it soon fades – especially when the bill comes. Take a step back and focus on what is important to you. Most of us will find we already have everything we need.
Dear Jesus, You have given us your love in overflowing abundance. You have met our needs. Please give us grateful hearts that sing your praises instead of chanting, “more, more.” You are enough. When we rest in you, we are enough. Amen.