Weekly Thought – January 26, 2021
Fred loved tools and gadgets, but he did not accumulate “things.” He always said families needed savers and spenders. He proudly wore the banner of saver in his household. He never acquired a taste for status symbols or operating from a “busy is better” platform. He once said he never felt the time/energy pressures often bemoaned by others for he chose to follow his own rhythm and not one imposed upon him.
Thank you for graciously supporting BWFLI during this unusual time. Campus ministry is on hold, but virtual communication and interpersonal encouragement continues. Please pray for the team members and board members as the new virtual format is developed. God always has a way.
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 said, “Contemporary culture lacks both the inward reality and the outward lifestyle of simplicity.” Inwardly, modern man is fracture and fragmented. He is trapped in a maze of competing attachments. One moment he makes decision on the basis of sound reason; the next moment makes one out of fear of others will think of him. He has no unity or focus around which life is oriented.
I think the Quakers have done a better job than most in fully understanding the dynamics, the beauty, and the elegance of the simple life. Let me quote:
“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 them. We cease from showy extravagance, not on the basis of being able to afford it, but on the grounds of principle. We join the experience that Richard E. 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 says it this way: “When we are truly in this interior simplicity, our whole appearance is franker and more natural. This true simplicity makes me 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. When we have nothing to hide, we can afford the frankness and openness. When we have no more need to shove people around we can be gentle, like a velvet-covered brick… soft, but firm. We can have the innocence I see in men like Billy Graham. It is not naivete, but genuine innocence without guile. We can have the gaiety, the zest of living, and not the pseudo hyped up enthusiasm that feels (and looks) like it was sprayed from a can. We can have authentic serenity for we own ourselves and are not for sale. Even more importantly, we are not trying to buy anyone else.
The simple life is more than “simply living.” It takes consideration, evaluation, formulation, and action. When we take the 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 carefully consider: 1) What does the simple life look like for me? My family? 2) Who exemplifies the interior/exterior unity for me? 3) How much do I really want to simplify?
Words of Wisdom: “The simple life is more than simply living.”
Wisdom from the Word: “A person will be satisfied with good from the fruit of his words, and the work of his hands will be rendered to him. “ (Proverbs 12: 14 NET Bible)