Proverbs 22:9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed, for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

Have you ever moved into a new home? What’s the most common complaint in getting ready for such a move? “How did I accumulate so much stuff?” Most of us have too much stuff. Too much stuff can be a problem for missionaries. The more things we accumulate the more our freedom is restricted. The more stuff we have the more it demands our attention. The more attached we get to our stuff the harder it is to hear the call of Jesus.

Jesus’ call to travel light may be a call to simplify our lives–to become more carefree–so we can regain a kind of “singleness of eye and heart,” as Dietrich Bonhoeffer called it.

Summer vacation can be a great teacher about a more carefree life. Ann Morrow Lindberg wrote a marvelous little book that’s been read by thousands, GIFT FROM THE SEA. It is a profound work.

In it Ann Lindberg describes her alone time at her beach home. She tells how she experiences God’s grace through the simplicity of the life she finds on summer vacation. Her life at home involves food, shelter, meals, planning, bills, doctors, dentists, vitamins, school conferences, car pools, extra trips for basketball, tutoring, camps, laundry, cleaning, mending, social arrangements, telephone calls, etc…

Life in our society, she says, is based on the premise of ever-widening circles of contact and communication. It involves family demands, community demands, national demands, and international demands. Our mind reels sometimes. It is not a life of simplicity but a life of multiplicity if we’re not careful. It can lead to fragmentation rather than unification. If we’re not careful it can destroy our soul.

Lindberg has been given a gift from the sea. It is the gift of simplicity. The sea and her little beach house have taught her the art of shedding; how little one can get along with, not how much. Clothes for instance. Instead of a closet full, a suitcase full.

Ron Newhouse

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