Five More Things I’ve Learned from the Amish that Have Nothing to Do with being Amish and Have Everything to Do with being a Christian:
Live humbly. This is the basis of the Amish life. They don’t waste, they reuse and recycle, they live simply and without luxury, they provide for each other’s needs. Daily life is embroidered with gratitude for all God has given them. Two prayers bookend every meal—a meal begins with thanks to God for the nourishing food, and ends with gratitude for what was received.
Amish proverb: “The blessing of sharing outweighs the blessing of having.”
The Lesson: Choose simplicity over clutter. Economy over luxury. And give thanks!
A task takes as long as it takes. It seems like such a paradox—the Amish are busy, yet unhurried. They have a deliberateness in their actions—one job isn’t more important than the other. And they don’t have televisions or computers or radios or telephones—which gives them more time to cook, fish at the lake, enjoy a good book, and spend with their children and grandchildren. They have time to slow down a bit—to smell the roses along their path.
Amish proverb: “Every day that dawns brings something to do that can never be done as well again.”
The Lesson: Reduce the time where attention is focused on electronics (computer! Cell phone! Television!) and strive to be more emotionally present when with others.
Success and Size are not related. The Amish have rapidly adopted to the demands of the modern business world. Their self-owned businesses are remarkably successful, but not at the cost of everything else. They view money as a tool, not the goal.
Amish proverb: “Love, peace, and happiness in the home is of infinitely more value than honor, fame and wealth.”
The Lesson: Never let ambition destroy life’s better goals.
They teach us not to seek vengeance but to forgive. The Amish take the Lord’s Prayer seriously—if they are asking God to forgive them their sins, they must be willing to forgive others who have sinned against them. Being a forgiving person is an everyday intention.
Amish proverb: “It is far better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember.”
The Lesson: No doubt you’re familiar with the Nickel Mines tragedy. If the Amish can forgive the killer of their children, can’t we forgive a friend for not inviting us to a party? Or a driver who cuts us off? Make forgiveness your default button. A habit. An everyday intention.
God has a plan. To the Amish, everything passes through the hands of God. Everything. Joys and sorrows, both. God is sovereign over all—from weather to illness to births to who’s in the White House. They yield to God’s perfect will, trust Him for what they don’t understand, and thank Him for what they do.
Amish proverb: “God’s hand that holds the ocean’s depth can hold my small affairs. His hand, which guides the universe, can carry all my cares.”
The Lesson: Trusting God isn’t passive—it takes a lot of work! But what peace and joy are available to us when we put our faith in the Almighty God. Everything, ultimately, works out for good.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction and the host of a weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. Her most recent book, Amish Values for Your Family released in August. The Waiting is a finalist for a 2011 Christy Award. Amish Peace: Simple and Amish Proverbs were both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year (2010, 2011). Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. Keep up on Suzanne's latest news on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog!