Borrow and Lend Block
God invented math. So this equation from Jude 2 is His:
“May mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you”.
I used to joke with my kids in their preteen years when they had not the wherewithal to give “real” presents for birthdays. I didn’t mind, gift giving is not my love language. Handmade expressions of love are; and I have kept their priceless homemade treasures to this day. They were so busy with life, some of my birthdays went ungifted. When their birthdays approached, I’d say, “I’m going to give you twice as much as you gave me”. They were smart and did the math before expressing any mistaken enthusiasm.
But God can multiply “nothing” and get “something”. He abounds in steadfast love. When we think we’ve depleted our quota of grace, He doubles down with mercy, peace and love. This just doesn’t equate in my finite mind.
In this passage, we are reminded of God’s abundant blessings. Our response is to be generous in our giving, to lend but not borrow. Deuteronomy is kind of like Moses’ farewell address. For the first time, you can really hear author’s voice in the scriptures. Moses writes in first person. He recounts all the events that occurred in his lifetime. So we get a great recap of the Book of Numbers in case we missed it the first time. To hear of all the successful conquests listed one after the other, you marvel at Moses’ leadership. Yet God described Moses as “meek”. It is true that in our weakness is His strength revealed. And God abundantly poured on the blessings to His chosen people.
We also live in a world of incredible abundance. We are all rich. And if we make more than $40,000 a year, we are in the top 4% worldwide from all time.
We can have everything we need and want. Millions of us have more than we can hold and the storage unit industry is booming. I heard that it produces wealth that surpasses the Hollywood industry. And Hollywood is a large part of the reason why California would be #5 in the world if it was a country.
From this first world position, simplicity can be an indulgence. Minimalism can be a lifestyle choice rather than a predicament. We have the luxury of leisure, so we can practice mindfulness about every little detail of our lives. We can consider what sparks our joy. (Marie Kondo). Good times.
It’s trendy, too. The side of a huge semi truck I saw yesterday was advertising “Abundance in Simplicity”. It was a Cadia yogurt ad. Figure that out.
Abundance in simplicity. Less is more. Live simply so others may simply live.
Do the math:
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
3 thoughts on “32. Less is More”
Your statement “…simplicity can be an indulgence” was impactful to me. I hadn’t recognized my pride in adopting simplicity even in small ways. While I take slight exception to your 4% statement, it is certainly true that Americans as a group have it vastly better than much of humankind. To that I would add a corollary that wealth itself is not a bad thing. I recently saw a news story of a Vox editorial which took the position that knitters are racists, primarily based on a knitter’s post about looking forward to a long-desired visit to India. The editorial took an absurd position and was retracted, under pressure, but is symbolic of Americans being unaware of (1) how much better our lives are here and now than elsewhere and else-when, (2) the actual reasons for it, and (3) the obligations it entails. Thank you for reminding me that there is more room for humility in my life.
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Thank you for this, Ruth. Do you blog? I’d love to hear more from you.
No, although I have a plethora of opinions, I don’t blog. I barely keep a journal. I’m much better at reading. P-)
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