The Simple Life

 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. (Mk. 10:17-22)

Been reading The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by Fr. James Martin, SJ.  Here are some thoughts on this passage…

Jesus is showing his intuitive understanding of what was preventing the young man from growing closer to God.  He put his finger on what Ignatius would call the man’s “disordered attachment.”  To another person, Jesus might have said, “Give up your status.” To another, “Give up your desires for success.”  Jesus was not simply inviting the young man to a simple life; he was identifying an unfreedom, and saying, “Get rid of anything that prevents you from following God.”

The point is not that you have to give everything away, but this: the more you stop buying stuff you don’t need, and the more you get rid of items you don’t use, the more you can simplify your life.  And, the more you simplify, the freer you will feel, and be.

Simple living is not a punishment, but a move toward greater freedom.

What is the unfreedom in my life?  What is preventing me from following God as closely as I could be?  These are the questions on my heart on this rainy Thursday.

"A Spirituality for Real Life"


  1. Natasha · January 26, 2012

    Ever since I married Brett (a missionary who raising the salary we live off of), my perspective of what I need/want has changed. And every since, I’m on a constant mission to simplify my life, home, possessions, wants, desires. Materialistically speaking, it’s amazing how much stuff I STILL have when I get rid of HUGE bags at an almost monthly to every other monthly rate. Further proof that I truly DO have all I need. Spiritually speaking, it’s a constant battle to remove myself from my humanity (read: sinfulness), control, and desire to have my control in day to day. But rather, surrender myself to the Lord’s will and try to live in a constant state of flexibility and openness to have the courage to follow Him…even when the steps to get there seem daunting and scary (which is quite often).

    The Simple Life as you said is a challenge that I’m constantly trying to get better at. But as you stated, The Simple Life will set you free and there is too much in this world bogging down the average mans self and soul.

  2. rallyroskomightymurphy · January 26, 2012

    Wish i had actually been the one to say most of that stuff…all the good info in that blog goes to Jesus and then Fr. James Martin, SJ…but, yes, i agree with what you say! I feel like i don’t have much and I give away a lot of stuff regularly…AND, i try not to bring in too much, too often…

    i guess it’s not a matter of simplifying to the point of “almost nothing”…it’s simplifying to the point of enjoying some wants, having needs met, and never having so much more than is necessary…

  3. Pingback: Spiritual Breathing Room | The Catholic Realist

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