During the pandemic, due to quarantine orders, people were forced to limit their travel. Children were unable to go to school. A lot of things changed in just a short period of time. People were not allowed to have parties, attend church services or go to the movies. Things we took for granted, like just sitting in a cafe and chatting with others, were suddenly forbidden due to the spread of COVID-19. We all heard the experts talking about the changes to our lives and that there would be a “new normal”.
While we sheltered in place and maintained social distancing, things changed. Instead of going out to eat, people began to cook more at home. In fact, there was a shortage of flour in most stores, because people began to bake bread. Games like Monopoly and Scrabble were pulled down from shelves and dusted off. Games, like chess and checkers, became the highlight of the evening or the weekend. Cooking videos became very popular and people tried new recipes. Instead of just running out for a pizza or hamburgers, people were cooking again.
Life, all of sudden, turned from the fast-paced lifestyle that we were used to and returned to a slower pace. I saw more children playing outdoors and people sitting on their porches and enjoying the evening rather than sitting idly on their couches to watch the news about this virus and the death tolls.
Life got a little simpler and easier for us during the pandemic. For some, it was a welcome change of pace. For example, I have been working from home since March. I no longer spend three hours a day driving in heavy traffic. My daily routine allows me the opportunity to actually do more work and spend some time during the day walking our dogs and enjoying a sunny day.
We allowed our lives to become cluttered and full of things that, when you think about them, didn’t positively change our lives or improve them. Things that we bought or did, prior to the pandemic, just added to our daily headaches.
Since I began working from home, I don’t spend fifteen hours every week in traffic. I used to purchase gasoline for my car twice a week. Right now, I purchase gas about every other week. My life is a lot easier and simpler. I don’t enjoy watching television and prefer to simply listen to music. With all of the political commercials and depressing news about the pandemic, I can easily escape all of it by turning off the television and clicking a button to listen to peaceful music.
Think about your own lives. Have things become a little simpler and easier for you since all of this started? If I were to guess, I would probably say that they have. Stores have reduced their hours so there isn’t a need to just go there to purchase things you don’t need or want.
When you think about it, the pandemic has given us a chance to change and maybe even to simplify our lives. We don’t need to race around to get things done. People have been cooking more in their kitchens and backyards. Things have changed maybe for the better.
In chapter four of his first epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul writes, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.”
Our lives are just too short and precious to waste on living a hectic lifestyle filled with all of the trappings of consumerism and bickering over petty things. We should strive to live a life that is simple and spend our lives using our hands rather than just running all over the place in pursuit of meaningless things.
When we take these steps to eliminate all of the tedium in our lives, we begin to have more time to look at our lives and think about our relationships with God and each other. When Paul tells us to mind our own business, he is not saying that we shouldn’t care about and love others. We are to concentrate on helping others rather than quarreling with them. When we live our lives as God’s ambassadors, we demonstrate to the world that we truly live our lives with a Christ-like attitude and in service to God and those around us.
In chapter sixteen of the Book of Proverbs, the author writes, “Better to have little, with godliness, than to be rich and dishonest.”
When you really think about what the author wrote, you can easily see how we can put worldly things ahead of our relationship with God. If we continue to strive for worldly things, we lose focus on God and start to look to the world for what we desire. The world can easily lead us down a path that only ends in despair and emptiness.
The words of Proverbs should ring clearly in our ears and should guide us in our daily work. Don’t look to worldly wealth to enrich your life. Don’t concentrate on things that lead you away from a simple, quiet life. Look only to God for true fulfillment and joy. The pursuit of things of this world complicates our lives and causes us to stumble and fall.
There is a quote, often attributed to Malcolm Forbes, that says, “He who dies with the most toys wins.”
Are our immortal souls truly worth the toys we collect in our short, fleeting lives? Is having more when you die truly victory?
In chapter sixteen of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus, while talking with his disciples, said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
So, as you go through the pandemic, I urge you to take a moment and look closely at your life. Is it cluttered and full of trouble? Are you truly winning because you have more toys?
True victory comes from living a simple, quiet life as a follower of Jesus. Giving up all of the worldly things that separate you from God and taking up your cross will give you the ability to stand firmly in His grace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.