Saturday, July 14, 2012
Lessons from the Amish
As most people know, central Wisconsin is home to colonies of Amish and Mennonite families. I was blessed yesterday to be able to travel there and shop "The bulk stores" and bakeries. Wow, what a completely amazing experience. Now, don't get me wrong I'm not assuming that everyone should put on a bonnet and run off to be en-grafted into the land of the Amish. I am simply stating a few things I noticed that would enhance and simplify my life. Make it less consumed with the cares of the world and more consumed with the "Things that matter in life." Romans 12:2 says," Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
The first thing I noticed is that they all wear pretty much the same type of clothing. Men and boys in white shits, suspenders and handmade sailor type button up trousers. Woman and young girls in long dresses, sometimes floral depending on the sect you are coming from. Sometimes white, dark blue and black. Their heads are usually covered and they wear black convent type shoes. 2 Corr 10:12 says,"Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding." I imagine that because they all dress similar, that they do not get jealous of one anothers clothing or beauty.
The second thing I noticed is that they smile and wave. Not always smile but always extend a pleasant greeting to you. They know we are not living like them in any type of way. They do however offer up grace and mercy towards those who live, what they might deem a sinful life. They may not be 100% correct in their doctrine or theology but they came across as very non-judgmental. What a beautiful thing. To be tolerant of a different culture and to love them because God says to love them. They understand the concept of God's unconditional love when he sent Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners. We are commanded to love one another.
The third thing I noticed was how they work together as a community or a body of believers. The men and boys were working in the fields. The moms were preparing dinner and finishing up chores. The young girls were taking care of the babies and manning the storefronts. Honestly, it was an honor and a privilege to see this face to face. Hebrews 13:16 says, "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." Honestly, I say this with complete sincerity and a pure heart, I truly believe that today's mega churches are not honoring God in this way. It seems that the more we have, the more we have to take care of, the less time we have to serve others. This is such a witness for me and an encouragement. It makes me want to make time for others, in spite of what I have to do. It makes me want to stop and help.
I learned a ton more than this but nobody wants to bore you or overwhelm you with opportunity for change :))).. We can offer ourselves, our lives up to God daily. Ask him to simplify our lives so that we do not get consumed or overwhelmed by the cares of this world. I am going to make people a priority today.