The Bear Necessities

Matthew 6:24-34; Matthew 22:37

Look for the bear necessities, the simple bear necessities,

Forget about your worries and your strife

 I mean the bear necessities are mother nature’s recipes

That bring the bear necessities of life

As a young boy, my favorite movie was the animated Disney film, The Jungle Book.  There was something about Baloo – singing, eating, and dancing his way through life – that captured my six year old mind. As long as he had something to eat, a place to sleep, and good friends, he was happy.  He wasn’t exactly lazy, just…laid back. He was the kind of bear that could  be counted on in a tough situation. He was the kind of bear who would listen without judgement. He was a tender-hearted kind of bear. He had a heart as big as…well…as big as his belly! He wasn’t silly, like Yogi, and he wasn’t a children’s bear, like Pooh. He was the kind of bear I wanted to be.

For weeks, I danced around the back yard, in nothing but a loin cloth, singing his theme song while eating a banana. Things like making the bed, taking out the trash, and homework now seemed frivolous and superfluous in the grand scheme of life. My parents did not share my enthusiasm over this new epiphany.  They thought it unseemly for the pastor’s son to constantly parade himself half-naked for all the neighborhood to see.

Much later in life, I discovered that my first name, Arthur, is a derivative of the old Welsh word for “Bear-man.” There’s something about that connection I like. Somewhere along the path of life, Baloo’s philosophy became my own. I try to reduce complicated or complex issues down to their must fundamental form, the base elements, the lowest common denominator.  Those were the only exercises of science or math I enjoyed. I never could see the sense in making something more complicated than it is. This approach is very evident in my teaching career. What is the most crucial concept my students need to know? How can I make this simple? That’s what I try to communicate.

Twenty-first century life rarely seems simple. We have complex personalities, we live complicated lives, we even suffer from confused priorities.  Somewhere between computers, cell-phones, careers, competitions, clutter, and all the other “cares of this world” we obsess over the least crucial things and miss the most important things.  That kind of existence is maddening.  I need my life simplified. We need our lives simplified.

Jesus spoke much about priorities. First and foremost, love God, and love those around you. Next, stop worrying about how much money you need to make. Stop worrying about what you’re going to wear today. Stop worrying about what you’re going to eat for dinner tonight. I wonder how much mental, emotional, and physical energy is  centered around obtaining and protecting just these three things. I wager more than a little. God knows you need food, shelter, and clothing. If we set our heart on him, he promises to provide those needs.

I have now moved from a 2,000 square foot custom-built home into a 1,000 square foot duplex. I had to make some decisions about what things I really needed, and what things could be sacrificed.  My new home has everything I need, including a small, fenced back yard. I think I may grab my loin cloth and a banana.



Published in: on April 23, 2018 at 1:45 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. This is absolutely perfect! I can see Baloo the Bear in you!

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