“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you and never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
There once was a poor man who wanted to live simply. He visited a wise guru to find out how to live life fully. The guru told the man to take care of the little he owned and to never bother others.
The poor man left confidently and decided to live a life of solitude, dressed in a simple loin cloth and sleeping on the ground every night. He was happy until one day he found that the mice had started eating his loin cloth.
In order to keep the mice away he realized that he needed a cat. He got a cat and realized that the cat needed to drink milk. Where was he going to get milk? He didn’t want to bother anyone with his problem so he bought a cow. The man was happy, the cat was happy, but the cow was hungry. The man realized the the cow needed grass, so he bought a couple acres of land to feed the cow.
Once he had the land he realized that the land needed to be taken care of. He didn’t want to ask others for help so he hired a bunch of workers to take care of the grass and cow.
Immediately he realized that he needed a place to shelter these workers, so he built a shelter and a large home for himself.
A year went by. One day the guru came to visit his student to see how he was doing. He came upon a huge mansion with fields of produce, houses and barns, cows and cats and many other worldly things. He shook his head and wondered where his student had gone wrong.
He knocked on the door of the mansion and a servant walked him down a long hall to see his old friend. Without any pleasantries he said, “What happened?”
The man matter-of-factly said, “It was the only way I could keep my loin cloth.”
Isn’t that the way life always is? One thing has to do with another. Everything goes round and round in circles. We slowly get sucked into wanting more, or at least getting more to help you keep up that which you already own.
I’ve seen this in my life when I’ve bought a few new things meant to “make me happy”. I then get home and realize that I have no where to put them, so I have to go buy something else to contain them. It is a vicious circle.
Where could this man have stopped his problems without blowing everything out of proportion? You might think that this man became successful and therefore, lived his life fully. I am not sure. He certainly didn’t obtain what he set out to do. His life was not simple, many people depended on him.
Did his things “own” him? How could he have lived more simply? Any the biggest question that I have is how would things have changed if he would have asked people around him for help instead of going out and buying more stuff. If we all lived helping each other would we all need less stuff?
Would having less stuff and living simply make us happier? I don’t know. I live in a little house that has no closets. I know what it feels like to live with stuff all around me. I can’t hide a thing. At one time my husband’s and my bed was by the front door because we don’t even have a bedroom. Since then we moved into the tiny dining room and put the kitchen table by the front door. I know what it is to be controlled by stuff. Most times when I am cleaning I feel like I am just moving things from place to place. It looks different, so that is good enough.
I don’t know how to simplify my life. I am not a compulsive shopper. I don’t like to spend money. I am a saver. So I don’t go overboard, but still we have too much stuff for our space. I walk around and try to weed things out but I find that we need everything (at least sometimes). So we keep it all. I don’t know how to simplify. We have to eat, we have to work, we have to go to school, we have to pay bills and keep up a clean house. We don’t live a life of extras. I don’t go out to get my hair cut. I never get a manicure. I’ve never had a pedicure. We live life on a shoe string. Yet still life is chaos.
Oh well. I am happy with my chaos. Exhausted, but happy. I am so grateful to have a warm house, a bed, food and every necessity met. God has blessed us with so much more than some have. So this is todays blessing. That I have more than I need.