If I were given Warren Buffett's billions and instructed to go out and buy the entire world a gift I think I'd just tell Warren to keep his dough and look elsewhere for the source. Just now, as most of the world seems content with war making, or ambitions for wealth, or the petty diversions of Kim and Brittany and Justin and Facebook, I'd give the world's people the gift of "tuning out" from all those irrelevant things and "turn on" to a few of God's simple pleasures.
I would ask the people to just stop for a few minutes and examine the leaf on a tree. Look at the dramatic contours of form as those little feeding lines wind their way around the edge of the leaf. Look at the little veins running throughout the leaf, carrying nutrients from the mother tree. Look at how "this leaf" is unique to this species alone among all other living things.
I would ask the people to turn away from the news of the day...or re-runs of "Cheers" and, if you have no book of poetry or prose to turn to, just open the family bible and turn to the Book of Psalms and read any one of the Psalms. You don't have to be religious to appreciate the grand poetry of Psalms. My favorite:
A psalm of David.The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name.
Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage.
You set a table before me as my enemies watch; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come
I would ask the people to stop and walk outside and listen to the miracle performance of a mocking bird as he re-creates the song of a robin, or a wood pecker, or even the mechanical drones of a cell phone.
I would ask the people to carry a chair out to the front porch and sit there until someone walks by...and make eye contact with that passerby, make some tiny nod toward a human connection for just a moment of your day. That small moment of "recognition" of another human may mean more than a hundred Facebook posts.
I would ask the people to put down the I-phone, turn off the I-Pad, and spend five minutes looking upon the face of a loved one. Take the time to look at the frown lines, and the laugh lines and appreciate them for enduring both the joy and the pain of life..and for sharing their lives with you.
I would ask the people to read a Robert Frost poem that speaks of the need to stop the "hurry" of your day and tarry awhile to see what's right in front of you:
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
These generous gifts would be my offering for a world in desperate need of God's simple pleasures.