Sunday, November 9, 2014

Living Loud, Do you always need to be "seen?"


"I will be careful to live a blameless life—
    when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity
    in my own home." Psalm 101:2 (NLT)


For hundreds of years many families lived quiet, unseen lives in the family home. They enjoyed the 'simple' pleasures of life, being together and spending time as a family. Worshiping God together and seeking Him was the focus. There was less focus on self, and more focus on service to others and the family. The home and family were viewed as sacred, and home was a sanctuary. The virtues of life were learned in the family home---love, patience, service, orderliness and most importantly, loving God and having a heart to follow Him.

Before facebook, instagram and twitter, people led "quieter" lives. Life wasn't showcased and people went about their work in a quiet manner. There wasn't the addiction to needing to be 'seen'. Somehow social media tricks us into thinking that constantly spending time on it documenting our lives suddenly makes us more valuable, as if our worth "goes up" by how much we post and are seen, heard and admired. Many before us lived lives that were unseen by crowds of men; but seen by God. A mother who is placing her value on the work and service she does for her family and God is just as valuable as a "famous" woman whose work is seen and admired by the masses. God sees her, and in His eyes she is a faithful child.

Fame and the admiration of many are wanted more than ever today. Rarely do we meet anyone who does not advertise or brand themselves. The ability to showcase ourselves in all we do is at our fingertips. Everyone is somewhat seen and heard today, being 'loud' on the internet. While the brand we have made of ourselves can be used for good, sometimes that brand becomes an idol and forgotten is the value of living quietly for God.  The virtue of a quiet life is almost lost, the value of a meek and quiet spirit is often tossed aside.  Many lives were lived before us that weren't advertised. Even the apostles didn't advertise themselves for the purpose of fame; but for the glory of God and service to Jesus. They knew the value of their work was seen by God and their worth was found in Him.

"But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." 1 Peter 3:4
One of the most famous quiet lives of a mother is of Ma Ingalls. She probably never thought her work and love of her family would be publicized and beloved by readers. She never advertised herself or seemed to long for fame. She lived on the prairies caring for her family, loving them and teaching them. Many times it was her strength that kept her family going through the hard times. She was always faithful, gentle and loving. Many times in the "Little House" books she is described as opening her Bible for encouragement.  She truly lived simply. She had no gadgets, not even kitchen ones, and whipped up simple meals over a wood stove with cast iron pots. She was faithful in the smallest tasks and gave timeless advice.

“This earthly life is a battle,” said Ma. “If it isn’t one thing to contend with, it’s another. It always has been so, and it always will be. The sooner you make up your mind to that, the better off you are, and the more thankful for your pleasures." (from "Little Town on the Prairie")

If only I had some grease I could fix some kind of a light,” Ma considered. “We didn’t lack for light when I was a girl, before this newfangled kerosene was ever heard of.”

 “That’s so,” said Pa. “These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves- they’re good things to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on ‘em.”

This sounds old fashioned now but maybe Ma and Pa had some wisdom. When we depend on fast, better and more--- always looking for things to constantly be improved to lead us in a life of ease, we forget many values of life. Often, the truly important things of life are neglected when the priority is to be loud, seen and heard. Ma probably couldn't have imagined a mother posting her life to facebook all day seeking recognition for herself, having "busy-itis" or spending all her time at the gym because she did not know the value of the work God had given her. She truly knew the value of the 'ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit.'

"For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

"And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you..." 1 Thessalonians 4:11

"We must give up the vain idea of trying to please everybody. That is impossible and the attempt is a mere waste of time. We must be content to walk in Christ's steps, and let the world say what it likes." JC Ryle





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