While there is some question whether the above “live simply” statement was originally made by Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa or someone else, there is no doubt about the wisdom of this advice. Indeed, living simply may be the key to human survival on planet Earth.
It is that simple and that serious.
Make no mistake about it: we cannot continue polluting the earth and plundering its natural resources. It is past time for our politicians to recognize that the American addiction to money and things and wanting more and more and more is already resulting in catastrophic consequences.
How, then, do we begin to change our ways? How do we teach ourselves to want less and buy less? How do we determine how much income and how many things we really need as opposed to how much we want?
Gretchen and Sterling Williver are friends who have grappled with those questions and set an example for many of us. When they were first married, she worked as a teacher but ultimately settled for part-time jobs. That left a full-time position available for someone else at a time when employment opportunities were very scarce in the area. Gretchen said that in retrospect, she and Sterling realized that working less and spending those additional hours with their children was far more important to them as a family than a full-time income was.
She also acknowledged that over the years there were other important influences which contributed to and reinforced the importance of that decision. One of those influences a book by Timothy Miller called How to Want What You Have. Another was hearing a respected theologian say during the recent recession that he hoped we would learn from it to live on less.
When Gretchen worked with our church on hunger issues, she saw that there had to be a worldwide leveling of resource distribution and employment opportunities. The Arab Spring made it obvious that the lack of jobs for young men was a major factor in that uprising. Statistically, underemployment for young Black men has been a major problem in this country for years. Somehow we all have to learn to live more simply that others may simply live.
Recognition of that problem is an important first step. What will your second step be?
Blessings for your journey,
Welcome to Faith and Money Network! Learn more about how we can help you learn to live with integrity in a money-driven world:
- Get our Money Autobiography Guide and start the journey toward aligning your money practices with your deepest values
- Check out the Faith and Money Podcast, produced by and for people of faith who want to explore how their faith shapes their financial choices
- Join an upcoming Money, Faith and You online study group to discuss today’s leading thinkers on faith and money and to consider how your financial choices affect your life and others’ lives