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A Song for Lent – Day 25 – Learning Contentment

To Read: Click on song title to watch a video

Bare Necessities

from ‘The Jungle Book’

Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities,
Forget about your worries and your strife.
I mean the bare necessities, Old Mother Nature’s recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life

Wherever I wander, wherever I roam

I couldn’t be fonder of my big home
The bees are buzzin’ in the tree to make some honey just for me
When you look under the rocks and plants
And take a glance at the fancy ants, then maybe try a few

The bare necessities of life will come to you. They’ll come to you! 

Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities,
Forget about your worries and your strife.
I mean the bare necessities, that’s why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life.

Now when you pick a pawpaw, or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw, next time beware
Don’t pick the prickly pear by the paw

When you pick a pear, try to use the claw
But you don’t need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw. Have I given you a clue ?

The bare necessities of life will come to you. They’ll come to you! 

So just try and relax, yeah cool it fall apart in my backyard
‘Cause let me tell you something little britches
If you act like that bee acts, uh uh, you’re working too hard

And don’t spend your time lookin’ around
For something you want that can’t be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin’ about it
I’ll tell you something true

The bare necessities of life will come to you

From the Scriptures: 

…there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

1 Timothy 6.6-10

 

To Reflect: 

Oh for the simple life!  What were our first parents thinking about when they chose the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil over the Fruits of the Garden of Eden?  To pass up on such provision and protection they must have had a death wish…

Mind you I suspect if I were in their place I would have done the same.  I’ve always been a sucker for a nice big juicy red apple, not that it was an apple they ate.

To live with what we have rather than with what we desire is to live in a place of deep serenity, security and faith.  All our seeking after ‘stuff’ is nothing less than a refusal to believe that we are held in the love of a God who cares for us and provides for all of creation.  We think that by grabbing and grasping at the gifts of God’s good earth we will be blessed but all this has resulted in is that half of the world is malnourished and half is obese, and many of those morbidly obese.

The chasing after ‘things’ and not finding the gains that come with ‘godliness combined with contentment’ leaves us full yet empty, obese yet having malnourished souls.

As Balloo reminds Mowgli

…don’t spend your time lookin’ around
For something you want that can’t be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin’ about it
 

The Jungle BookLiving with only the ’Bare Necessities’ is more than being content with what we have but it is also putting behind us the desire for the ‘stuff’ which ‘can’t be found’ and learning to ‘go along not thinkin’ about it’.

In a world where advertising for goods and services we can’t afford and don’t need is the wallpaper of our lives, it is hard to put this desire to one side and be content with the good things we have received.

When I studied at UNISA in Pretoria students often poked fun at one of our lecturers.  He was the stereotypical absent-minded professor who had a scraggy beard, ill-fitting clothes, and a ‘skedonk’ of a car we often had to push-start in the University car park after lectures.  When questioned once about his frugal lifestyle he said simply and profoundly;

‘There are two ways in the world to be wealthy: earn more or desire less.’ 

Despite his beard, clothes, and car, he was a wealthy man. 

Desires and affections are part of God’s gift to us and, when ordered correctly, they add joy and hope to our community.  When they are not, when we choose to chase and desire things, which we want but can’t have, all goes awry and we find ourselves amongst those who have  pierced themselves with many pains’. 

Much better to ‘seek first the Reign of God’ and then, finding all our needs met, our deepest desire will be to know Christ.

 

To Pray: 

O God, you have prepared in peace the path I must follow today.
Help me to walk straight on that path.
If I speak, remove lies from my lips.
If I am hungry, take away from me all complaint.
If I have plenty, destroy pride in me.
May I go through the day calling on you, you,
O Lord, who know no other Lord.

Galla people, Ethiopia

To Do:

1)  Eat a piece of fresh fruit, if you can pick it yourself even better.
2)  What desire can you abandon that you may become more wealthy?

Encore: Click on song title to watch a video

At the end of The Jungle Book, Mowgli, having survived the wiles of Kaa, Shere Khan and even King Louie falls willingly for doe-eyed young Shanti collecting water whilst she sings My Own Home.  Give thanks for those who help make your house into a ‘home’.

 

Acknowledgements:

Prayers are from ‘Prayers Encircling the World’ and are copyright © SPCK: 1998.
Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
These Reflections, ‘A Song for Lent – 40 Days in the West End’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2018

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