Survival, Comfort and Contentment: Asking Questions

What are your thoughts on technology? Yes, that's a broad question. You might ask: "It depends. What technology?" Well, how about your coffee maker? Most of us would answer: "What would I do without it!?" A humorous response that makes light of just how valuable the contraption is to us. We all know, that without a Mr. Coffee we would eventually learn to boil water and brew ground coffee by hand. But who would ever resort to manual coffee creation if the local department store had a replacement in stock that day, week - or even month?! Today, there is no one, including the least privileged in America, who does not daily appreciate and enjoy technology in one form or another. Even the most granola among us would agree, that without technology we'd be living significantly different lives.

Let's consider this simple definition: Technology; The application of tools, materials and knowledge to solve problems and extend human capabilities. So, before any of us go jumping on a soap box to holler about the evils of TECH, we should take a quick inventory of some of the most basic tools we wouldn't conceive of living without in our own daily lives, that at one time were cutting edge:

• scotch tape & scissors

• mattresses, bed sheets & pillows

• pencils & pens

• lounge chairs

• window screens

• fillings, braces & retainers

• toilets & running water

• the wheel & (of course) sliced bread

These inventions make our lives comfortable. Currently, I don't extend any effort to sacrifice pencils for holiness. However, it doesn't hurt to ask questions. Would God require us or allow us to live without modern conveniences? Would we be holier people if we did without them? One cannot argue that Messiah esteemed John the Baptist as being the best born of women (Luke 7:28/Matt 11:11) and John definitely made a point to live without the fine conveniences of his day. Was he closer to God because of his sacrifices? Or, was his lifestyle irrelevant to his calling and purpose to proclaim the Way of The Messiah? When our kids ask us (don't they always corner us with questions of this kind?), we ought to go to the Word:  

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." 1John 2:15-17 

So, it isn't that these conveniences are evil? Man-made solutions to the curse in Genesis 3:17-19 (circumventing the curse? hmmm)? Maybe it's merely our love of them and that we become so entitled to them and dependent upon them that this subject gives us pause?  Certainly, when we find ourselves doing without them for one reason or another, we become appalled at the uncivilized state of it. Yet it's indisputable that there are only a few basic needs to keep a human alive. 1 Tim 6:3-10 are poignant words on the subject.  Within those verses we get this simple calling:

"Reverence with contentment is great gain. For we brought naught into the world, and it is impossible to take any out. When we have food and covering, be satisfied with these." 

Could we be satisfied with food and shelter alone? This is the journey I have begun to explore in the last few years, and to ask myself more often. It's edifying for practical reasons beyond just the spiritual, of course!  Haven't we all experienced a surprise power outage in a storm to nervously proclaim, "Boy, you forget just how much you rely upon power and running water!" Yes, we do. Yes, we do forget.  Forgetting is human nature. Forgetting is the way of all the generations before us. But again, before I go on a rant about preparedness, we need to learn (and teach our kids) in these times of plenty what real contentment is. 

"Not that I speak concerning need, for I have learned to be content in whatever state I am. I know what it is to be humbled, and I know what it is to have in excess. In any and every situation I have learned both to be filled, and to be hungry, both to have in excess, and to be in need." Phil 4:11-12 (have any of us ever experienced this?)

Raising Up The Remnant exists because our family realized that not only do we enjoy much more than we need, we have gotten to a place where we depend upon much more than we need. What's wrong with that? Well, apart from the previous scriptures urging "contentment", one may be able to argue that nothing is wrong with it... if we never have to go without. Perhaps nothing is wrong with it, if we practice taking those things away now and then, and measure how much Shalom we still walk in. We suspect that Yah is awakening many other families to this awareness, who are looking for encouragement in their pursuit to live according to God's design for life and to be more prepared for a life less full of the modern world's bill of "comforts". Because that list of "technology" I gave previously, is now only a list of basic needs for Americans. Now the list your children have eyes on is more like: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, Cloud Computing, Angular and React, DevOps, Internet of Things (IoT), Intelligent Apps (I – Apps), Automated Cars, and on and on...

And, if one has any fear of Elohim whatsoever and His requirements for our lives, these concerns extend beyond just watching the seasons and heeding the admonition of Messiah, Who rebukes us for not being able to discern the times (Matt 3:16). (Indeed, I believe we are very near to times of trouble where we could be forced into an age without modern conveniences. I propose we all consider that sincerely. That alone may be reason enough to pursue contentment in any circumstance)... yet even more deeply: Where are your affections? What are your dependencies upon? This isn't merely about survival. It's not just about sustaining ourselves as minimalists and proudly keeping track of our carbon footprint. No. Yeshua quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 and this is remarkable - as I am heavily burdened that my family appears to be very near this state in our modern lives, to need to know, or be reminded as were our fathers:

"And He humbled you, and let you suffer hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, to make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of יהוה" Deut 8:3

Perhaps that wouldn't be such a painful lesson if we had David's dependence: "My being, finds rest in Elohim alone, because my expectation is from Him. He alone is my rock and my deliverance, my strong tower; I am not shaken. My deliverance and my esteem depend on Elohim; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in Elohim. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; Elohim is a refuge for us. Selah." Psalm 62:5-12

These are the things I contemplate (even as I compose this modern high-tech e-blast!).  Are you pondering them too? Does it seem as if we have forgotten the true design for life as authored by our Creator? I'll be writing more on these questions in the coming weeks as we gear up for this year's conference. I would love to get to know some of you out there who are weighing your family's life and finding it wanting. Let us gather at The Trout Lodge in December and encourage one another! Hearken brothers and sisters...

Nickie Geisinger

RutR Conference Coordinator