November 24, 2009
READY8 “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
AIM8… While on a recent ‘holiday’ to England, I made some observations about the United States. Sure, there were the obvious language accents and different use of words in England, however, I had many more insightful revelations about us Americans.
Food portions in America are obscene. No matter where we ate our meals in England, the portions, while they appeared small because we are used to heaping plates of food, were perfectly sized. Strangely enough, we were quite satisfied after our meal and realized the food we were given was more than enough to fill our stomachs. Do Americans really believe more is always necessary?
Customary tipping rates in America start at 15% for obligatory service and 20% or more for truly excellent service. In England, tipping is not expected by each person who provides a service for you. In restaurants, if you want to tip your wait staff, 10% is customary and quite satisfactory. Why do we, Americans, always have our hands out?
Hotel rooms, hallways and living arrangements are quite modest and in some cases quite small in England. In America, it appears that bigger is better. People are building and buying mammoth houses that they can’t afford for the social “wow” instead of the practical use of space. Does more love exist in a 10,000 square foot mansion than in a modest 1200 square foot home?
Until we stepped away from our surroundings, we didn’t realize the importance Americans place on living a life of excess. There comes a time when you need to be satisfied with where you are in life. True happiness lies in your relationships with God, your family, and your friends. Guard your heart, dear friends, because there will be moments of weakness where the more you have, the more you’ll want, and eventually the more you’ll expect. I have never seen a U Haul following a hearse, right?!
As we enter the holiday season, be grateful for your circumstances and beware of the trap of living in excess.
FIRE!8 Choose to share your “excess” with someone less fortunate. During this Thanksgiving weekend, make a point to do one of the following: 1) while grocery shopping, buy extra food or a gift card for a family in need and leave it on their doorstep or in their mailbox, 2) help serve a Thanksgiving meal with your church or the local soup kitchen, 3) collect your extra change and drop some into each Salvation Army red bucket you pass when shopping on Friday, 4) use your excess down time to play games or read stories with the children in your family, 5) give God thanks for the blessing of excess in your life.