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Some ways of the AmishPosted Tuesday, December 11, 2012, at 1:15 PM
A scripture that comes to my mind as I write this article today is found in Luke 12:15. These words are from Jesus as when a man came wanting to get his part of an inheritance left to another brother. He felt that he should have had a good part of an inheritance left from some benefactor. He may have felt like he should get half of it.
Jesus told the story to point up something more important. He said to the man, "And he said unto them, take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things he possesseth."
What a great lesson this verse teaches! A man doesn't have to have a lot of things to be happy in this world. We all need the basic things but craving more can become vanity and vexation of spirit. The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes wrote a whole chapter talking about things he sought in life which did not bring real happiness. Later they just caused him to look back and most of those things didn't bring a real good life. Lord, give us sense and interest about what makes life really good.
What prompted me to want to write about this subject came to me a few days ago when Mr. Chub Qualls, our mayor, was at the midsection of Monette decorating his hack (buggy) with decorations like he does most years. By the way, have you been through Monette yet and seen the pretty section at the red light in Monette? You would like to see it again this year. It will be there until after Christmas. I probably am biased but I think we have one of the prettiest main streets on Buffalo Island. Don't miss it.
Mr. Chub has told me the history of the Amish hack. A few years ago his brother bought it brand new from some Amish people. It was made by them and is just like they use most every day. He said it had never had a horse hitched to it. He just uses it for times like Christmas and parades. As he worked checking the lights for the wheels and the rest of the display we talked of times we were around the Amish people. Both of us agreed that we like to know them and learn of their ways. They always teach me an important lesson. That is we don't have to have every new gadget that comes out.
Many others of us can't wait to get something new that comes out. Remember when the apple Company came out with the I Phone gadget? People stood in lines to be one of the first to get one. So many people think they must have the latest one.
The Amish people branched off from the Mennonites that came to America in early history, feeling the Mennonites were becoming too liberal. They took to siding with a man who had a name much like Amish. I think most of them originated from the German Baptist people. They can be found in 19 or so American states. Both Mennonites and Amish have two groups, the old order real conservative group and the more modern. Most can be found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. We have a few groups in Arkansas. I see a few in Jonesboro and Paragould on occasion. A family or two live around Needham west of Lake City. The group most of us see can be identified from their dress. The old order women wear the sort of black or grayish colors. The newer ones will have blue or some conservative color and usually wear a small bonnet and shawl. The men wear the black hat, dark clothes, and are very conservative. I think they like to be thought of as the plain people. They do not like to be photographed. They are usually polite but don't like to pose for a picture. The old order tries to live the simple life and be distant from the modern world. The old order does not use cars; do not have television and other entertainment in their homes. Most of them are farm people; however they work at other business for a livelihood. Most of them have things for sale like eggs, sorghum, jellies, jams, milk, berries, fruits, and the like.
A few years ago my wife and I and my sister and her husband went to Florida. On the way back we came through Linden and Lobleville, Tenn., and found the Mennonite group across the Buffalo River from the highway we were traveling on. We stopped at a place we had been before and bought some sorghum molasses. As we talked with the person we could hear a saw going where some men were cutting small logs for firewood. I thought it was unusual for they didn't have electricity. We drove over to where this was going on and we saw that a deep creek flowed out by a shop building. They had it dammed up and a small water wheel. The wheel was turning and they had a shaft attached to a transmission and it was powering the saw up on the bank. So, they were still cutting wood the old way.
I remember some girls came up in a small buggy and they stopped the saw and they had some cookies for the men. They offered us some and they were good, made with sorghum. I've never seen a sad looking group of Amish children. It just shows that happiness does not come from the things one possesses.
Happiness comes when we know the Lord and our peace is in knowing Him.
Rev. William Piercy is pastor of Blackwater Baptist Church near Manila.