Signposts: Daily Devotions

Jesus said, “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will God not much more clothe you?”
—Matthew 6:30

An Arab proverb teaches us, “We own only what cannot be lost in a shipwreck.”   

If you interpret that proverb as I do, the first thing that comes to mind is that I need to simplify my life. I need to clean so much clutter out of my life, beginning with my closet and my desk. The thought of clearing out  my attic fills me with dread: When I see all those things I think I’ll use one day, or give to my children, I don’t even know where to start, so I turn around and leave.

As I ponder this Scripture, and think about the Arab proverb, I wonder: is this really about clutter, or is it about something more important? Do I emphasize the negative (clutter) when I should concentrate instead on a positive goal: living more simply?

A simple life centers on knowing whose we are (God’s) and living accordingly. Maybe the issue is not material things. Rather, simplicity means seeking serenity, calmness, or inner peace. When, upon occasion, I have experienced these things, I notice how effortlessly my perspective changes.

Simplicity of life does not mean extolling poverty as a virtue. It means having balance, appreciating what we have, and noticing what will enhance another’s life. In her marvelous book Becoming Fully Human, Sister Joan Chittister writes, “Simplicity and serenity, simplicity and honesty, simplicity and openness, simplicity and acceptance are synonyms... .” 

In the same book, she quotes  G . K Chesterton: “There is more simplicity in the one who eats caviar on impulse than in the one who eats Grape-Nuts on principle.”  Amen!


Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure. Amen. [Collect for Proper 20, Book of Common Prayer]

Copyright © 2005 Margaret Jones.