Weekly Thought – February 8, 2022
Fred believed in establishing a lifestyle and then disciplining the use of money within that framework. He didn’t adhere to the philosophy of spending to impress, join in, or establish social position. He defined the simple life in more than monetary terms – it was a complete way of looking at life – and living it fully. In this excerpt he quotes from some favorite writers on the subject.
Living a simple life means we come to the point of defining a lifestyle to which we can then apply common sense organization.
Richard Foster says, “Contemporary culture lacks both the inward reality and the outward lifestyle of simplicity. Inwardly, modern man is fractured and fragmented. He is trapped in a maze of competing attachments. One moment he makes decisions on the basis of sound reason; the next moment (decisions are made) out of fear of what others will think. He has no unity or focus around which life is oriented.”
We can see evidences of a simple life around us. What are they? Where are they? I think the Quakers do a better job than most others in fully understanding the dynamics, the beauty, and the elegance of the simple life. Therefore let me quote to you:
“Experiencing the inward reality liberates us outwardly. Speech becomes truthful and honest. The lust for status and position is gone, because we no longer need status or position. We cease from showy extravagance, not on the grounds of being unable to afford it, but on the grounds of principle. Our goods become available to others. We join the experience that Richard F. Byrd recorded in his journal after months alone in the barren arctic, “I am learning that a man can live profoundly without masses of things.”
Francois Fenelon, my spiritual mentor, says it this way: “When we are truly in this interior simplicity, our whole appearance is franker, more natural. This true simplicity makes us conscious of a certain openness, gentleness, innocence, gaiety, and serenity which is charming when we see it near to and continually with pure eyes, o how amiable this simplicity is.”
To paraphrase… we possess natural charm. I was on a television talk show with one of the plainest women I have ever seen. She had a bony facial structure topped with short gray hair. She was wearing absolutely no makeup. I saw no beauty in her face. Yet when she came over to talk following my part on the show, she suddenly was one of the most naturally charming women I had ever met. There was no pretense, no phoniness. She used no studied compliments, no choreographed repartee, no effort to make me like her, and no fear of my disliking her. She had natural charm.
When we have nothing to hide, we can afford this openness. When we have no more need to be a power player, we can be gentle. I like to describe it as being a velvet-colored brick. We can have the innocence I see in men like Billy Graham. It is not naivete; it is a genuine innocence without guile.
We can have the gaiety, the zest of living, and not the pseudo, hyped-up enthusiasm that feels like it is sprayed out of a can. We can have a genuine zest for living and serenity, for we own ourselves and we are not for sale. Even more importantly, we are not trying to buying anyone.
The simple life is more than “simply living.” It takes consideration, evaluation, formulation, and action. When we take the true measure of what really counts we can move toward simplicity. We define our lifestyle and shut out all other voices that would draw us away.
This week think about: 1) How much do I want the simple life? 2) How much do I want the simple life? 3) What assessment should I be undertaking to look honestly at my life?
Words of Wisdom: “We can have a genuine zest for living and serenity, for we own ourselves and we are not for sale. Even more importantly, we are not trying to buying anyone.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Then he looked at wisdom and assessed its value; he established it and examined it closely.” (Job 28:27 NET Bible)