“Contentment is the Only Real Wealth” (Alfred Nobel)
This morning, I helped myself to the last bowl of Cheerios. There was only a little left; as I looked at the empty wax paper bag, I suddenly remembered something Geraldine, my mother-in-law, told me. She said during the depression, her mother, Ruth, recycled the cereal bags and used them to pack lunch sandwiches for her husband and children.
Ruth and Ewing married in the early 1920’s. Ruth was a stay-at-home mom who raised six children, grew and canned the food they ate, and always had a word of wisdom and a smile to offer no matter how difficult the circumstances. Her husband was a blacksmith/pipe fitter, and they lived on a small farm in Kentucky. Ruth was a small (less than five feet) but very strong Christian who worked hard to overcome life’s trials. She never complained when times were rough; she always found ways to be content with her provisions and thanked God for providing them. Geraldine remembers as small child, awaking on frigid, blustery Kentucky winter mornings in their cold board-and-batten home. They would shake the snow from their bed quilts where it had drifted between the wooden slats. No one complained because they had a home they owned and food on the table daily.
Ruth died in the late 1990’s. When Geraldine and her sisters were cleaning her house, they found a kitchen drawer full of neatly folded, clean, empty cereal bags. It had been over six decades since the depression and her children had left home over 40 years before. There was no need to be frugal with home supplies; but these wax paper sacks were still neatly stored and ready for usage.
We all will go through trying times in this life, and sometimes situations become more difficult because we refuse to lean on God’s Word. Ruth’s life was an example of trust and faith in God. She fearlessly faced each day with the strength she gained from the Bible. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6&7)
Today in my daily Bible study, I learned I need to embrace God’s plan for my life. I must continue to daily read the Bible to “Let the teaching of Christ live in me richly.” (Colossians 3:16) And I must totally believe: “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Ewing and Ruth Ashley were an active young couple in the early 1920’s. As they matured and their family grew, they accepted the tough responsibilities of life without complaining. During the Depression, Ruth frugally saved the empty cereal wax sacks and recycled them for efficient and inexpensive sandwiches bags for her family’s lunches.