This simple LifeLast weekend, I decided to watch a PBS documentary by Ken Burns about the Shakers (1985) on Netflix. The Shakers are well known for the song "Simple Gifts" and enthusiastic style of Worship during the late 1700s and early 1800s. It was an amazing movement that touched the the lives of 200,000 people. They took a vow of celibacy and spent their time in prayer, farming and inventing kewl things such as the wheel driven washing machine and the circular saw. To read more visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakers.
Although I think they were a little legalistic and had some major doctrinal issues, i totally appreciate their commitment to live a Holy and righteous lifestyle. There was even a great revival in the Appalacian mountains that the Shakers had been involved with during the early 1800's.
They lived a very simple life and yet they pursued God earnestly. What they did was Radical. They lived communally, took in abandoned orphans, and took a vow of celebacy. I love the fact that they were passionate about their faith that they were willing to give up everything for God. While I don't think their many of methods are totally biblical, I think the legacy they have left with our country and even Christianity is something to be admired.
How many people do we know that are so dedicated to their convictions that they are willing to give up and change their a cushy lifestyle for one of simplicity and pursuit of God?
I can count on both hands the few friends I know that have stepped out in faith to become missionaries, ministers and pastors.
I think that a lot of the problems we see in our country and world is that we have (Christians and non-Christians) such a desire for bigger and better and latest and greatest.
Bigger houses with Bigger Mortgage (some pay $3500+ a month not including utilities), Bigger car with Bigger Car payment (some pay $500+ per month not including insurance), Bigger TV with Cable, DVR, Blue Ray/DVD Player (TV's depending on size range from $800 to $4000 not including the monthly electricity, cable bill and blue Ray/dvd rentals or purchases). Latest cell phone with all the bells and whistles (About 300 bucks for the phone then the service fees can be as high at 250 a month)
Seriously why are we spending our money and time on these frivolous things? I get caught up shopping for stuff I don't need all the time while racking up my creidt card bill I just recently paid off.
Why can't we live a simple life and save, store up and support the Church to help advance the kingdom of God. If a catastophic disaster ever happened would we be prepared?
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I have wondered what things in my own life I can do to cut the fluff out of our lives. As things start to get worse and we hear the news of more companies going bankrupt and laying off of thousands of employees, we need to think about what minor changes in our lives to help advance the kingdom. People are scared, weary and searching for hope. Many are putting their hope in the Obama Administration, but We as beleivers need to keep our Hope and Faith in Christ.
Isn't the body of Christ supposed to offer hope, peace and love and point them to the simple yet profound message of Jesus, the saviour of the world?Simple Gifts
Simple Gifts was written by Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr. in 1848. It was first published in The Gift to be Simple: Shaker Rituals and Songs. Simple Gifts was a work song sung by the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing (more commonly called the Shakers, an offshoot of the Quakers).
'Tis the gift to be simple,'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right
'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,
'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.