An excellent recent online article reports on a study done at the University of Toledo where one group of children were observed playing with only four toys, while another group had 16. Researchers observed that the children with fewer toys were more involved in their play than the other group.
The author also observed that children can be quite content playing with cardboard boxes and simple household items.
Conclusion: Parents would do well not only to limit the number of toys they give their kids, but also choose toys that stimulate creativity.
In a similar vein, it may well be true that for adults, less is more. A speaker I heard on the radio this morning cited a study indicating that a higher percentage of people in materialistic societies were mentally distressed. Should that surprise us?
Biblical values vs. the cultural expectations
Jesus, better than anyone, understood how people think. He said, “. . . not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
Paul said, “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:7-8).
Current culture does not encourage contentment, but the very opposite. Advertisers know how to bait the hook, especially around this time of year.
The person who takes to heart what Jesus and Paul taught about possessions not only can distinguish needs from wants, but may also learn how to want less anyway.
The contented person does not say, “I wish I had . . . .”
But instead, “I’m thankful I have . . . .”
It’s all a matter of perspective.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/
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