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Contentment

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”–Hebrews 13:5

Everybody in the world cannot have more than enough of everything. It is a self-defeating aspiration, for it means surfeit for some and frustration for many. –Wendell Berry, The Gift of Good Land


Homesteading and simplifying our lives may enable us to weather hard times in the future. In the present these practices liberate us from the culture of injustice and discontent, allowing us to live sustainably and savor what we already have.

If everyone in the world lived like the average American we’d need five planets.  While some people go hungry, most of us Americans already have more than enough of everything—so much food so that we have to watch our weight, so much fuel that we can spend most of our lives running from place to place without enjoying any of them. This isn’t fair. It isn’t sustainable. It doesn’t even make us happy. We’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us that we don’t have quite enough yet, that our cars are old, our computers out of date … I’ve heard a teen whose parents lived in a quarter-million-dollar house complain of feeling poor because his neighbors had half-million-dollar houses. Plainly we can’t reach contentment by accumulating more stuff.

Christian prepping can help us to find satisfaction in several ways. It shows us the real value of material things. (Many young people have left our farm saying that they appreciate food more now that they know how much work goes into it.) It requires us to slow down and pay close attention to our work. This means noticing bugs, blight and leaks, but also savoring the taste of the first tomato, smelling the flowers, seeing how light moves through the house. It enables us to share the fruits of our labor with other people, and those who can be generous tend to feel rich.

It also reminds us that we are God’s fellow workers, that we are never alone and that we are always loved. What more could anyone want? This abundance does not require anyone else to go without so that we can have more than our share. This gift is given to all of us, all the time, if we will only slow down and let ourselves receive it.

 

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