Perhaps you want to live a simplier life than what you live now, and yet it seems like there are so many complications to it. But what exactly does it mean to live a simple life? Does it mean that one needs to move to a rural setting away from the noise and confusion of the city? Should one get rid of their computer and cell phone, and all of their electronic devices, so that they’re not distracted? Perhaps one should stock-pile food and water, and live in a log cabin house in the woods away from everyone, so that nothing could complicate their life style.

In the past we've seen others like Thoreau who went to the woods and attempted to live a life away from the city to find solace and meaning amidst nature. Some insightful things were seen as these men separated themselves to find simplicity and meaning. And yet, does one need to live in the woods away from everyone in order to find simplicity? Can one work at a regular blue collar job, drive a car, and live in a modest house, and still live a life of simplicity? The answer I believe is yes.

On the other hand, we know of some who live in cloistered halls of stone, who have decided to live a life of celibacy away from people. Even though I don't agree necessarily with their choice of lifestyle, this is probably their attempt at finding simplicity and a life of reverence and reflection. I believe that one can live a simple life where they are now. One doesn't need to get rid of everything that is around them in order to do this, but instead, one rather, decides to focus on what is or should be, a priority at the elimination of other things. In order to live a simple life one needs to learn how to unclutter their heart and their mind. We often hear about needing to 'stop and smell the roses.” And we know that that means slowing down enough to enjoy a sunset, or to just sit and watch children at play.

I Timothy 6 tells us, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Perhaps one of the keys to living a lifestyle of simplicity has to do with contentment, because if we are always striving to get a new car, a new wardrobe, moving to another house, or whatever, then our focus has been taken off of finding a lifestyle of simplicity. And I would also say that busyness is one of the great robbers of our peace and enjoyment in this life. Busyness takes its form in a time clock of getting to this church meeting or service. It takes its form in all of the activities that are involved in family life, whether it's soccer practice, a piano recital, or whatever. Sometimes eliminating 'some' activity, helps us focus upon what really is important.

'I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.'

Henry David Thoreau

Stephen Hanson