Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Celebration of Simplicity

In the book Celebration of Discipline, author Richard J. Foster discusses the various disciplines that lead to spiritual growth. One of these is the discipline of simplicity.
"The Christian discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style." ~ Richard J. Foster
Foster outlines three inner attitudes we must have:

  • to receive what we have as a gift from God
  • to know that it is God's business, and not ours, to care for what we have
  • to have our goods available to others

For the outward expression of simplicity, he suggests the following 10 controlling principles (regardless of your spiritual convictions, this list is very useful):
  1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
  2. Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
  3. Develop a habit of giving things away.
  4. Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
  5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
  6. Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation.
  7. Look with a healthy skepticism at all "buy now, pay later" schemes.
  8. Obey Jesus' instructions about plain, honest speech.
  9. Reject anything that will breed the oppression of others.
  10. Shun whatever would distract you from your main goal.

My own desire for simplicity stems from my determination to live a life that is glorifying to God. I find the above suggestions extremely helpful in guiding me along this journey.


  1. I loved this book, I actually picked it up again needing to remind myself "of the basics". The plain and honest speech really spoke to me. And I try to remember this since I'm sometimes voluminous in my speech and want to guard my heart (and mouth) from flattery. I want my praise to be true.

    Learning how to enjoy things without owning them has be so freeing. I can live in this lovely chalet and appreciate it and love our time here and feel at HOME without the need to OWN it. I wouldn't be owning it anyway, the bank would. I still work on this one but it's a discipline I have been cultivating for awhile now and I feel it allows me to let go of things to open to new experiences.

  2. I LOVE this list and I thank you for posting it. It couldn't have come at a better time. I just today felt like I needed to start over with some helpful guiding principles (in addition to Bible study) and this was what I needed.

  3. I am coming over from FIMBY and love the list too. I did read this book a few years back and was so excited but had no one with whom to discuss it! My husband and I generally don't share the same perspective on this. I think that, for him, coming from Africa and having experienced real poverty, he had always dreamed of a big house, nice vehicle, etc. And mostly about being able to provide good things for his wife and children. I came from a family that , while we were never wealthy, grew good food, gave stuff away, adopted children, always had extra people staying on the couch, etc. People were most definitely prioritzed over things. But we always had enough so I don't know what it is like to know real poverty.

    Two nights ago, lying in bed, my husband brought up how, once again, most teachers from his school would be going together on a vacation with their families - and we wouldn't. We choose to live debt free (minus a modest mortgage which we're working hard at reducing)and to have me at home so it is true that our lives don't look like most of his coworkers. But then we reminded ourselves that WE HAVE PEACE IN OUR HOME AND WE LOVE EACH OTHER. And neither of us would be willing to forsake these things for a trip to Mexico.

  4. Found this post through Fimby and it really got me thinking. We've been working on simplifying our life and I really appreciate your 10 principles.

  5. I couldn't agree more. I think I'm one of the few people without an iPhone and I couldn't be happier. Well, that and many other things! Thanks for sharing this!