How to live simply.
If you Google it you find that it means having less stuff. Or a smaller car. Generally downsizing seems to be the way forward.
Except I can’t understand how having a smaller car helps. You still have all the worries about a car.
Not only that but the whole downsizing equals simplicity idea is one equation which does not add up. People in relative poverty, who have nothing to give up would be better off spiritually if this were so. But to me it seems the worries of having nothing create greater stresses than the worries of having too much stuff. And both run into the same problem, it is all about stuff. The political ideas of the Twentyfirst Century do not help. Capitalism and Communism* are equally materialistic. They are all about stuff and who owns it.
Take a look at this:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
The answer to simplicity does not lie with our stuff, either having or not having it. Seeking God’s kingdom is what counts here. Putting God first is what counts, not stuff.
And the vales of God’s kingdom are clear from later in Matthew’s Gospel. Feed the hungry and thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked visit the sick and in prison. Can you use your stuff to help someone else?
But whatever we do, whether we keep stuff or get rid of stuff, it has to come from a relationship with God. Helping the poor is to come from a relationship with God. Different people will react out of that relationship in different ways. Some in social care, some in evangelism, some in going and some in giving. But if there is a relationship, it should show in some way.
A relationship with God may mean you give up stuff. But the secret of simplicity in in God, not in giving away, or keeping, stuff.
*Yes, I know they are Nineteenth Century ideas, I am talking about how they are practised now.