But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 1 Timothy 6:6-7
Before he had his conversion, Francis of Assisi was a wealthy young man who had everything — and more — than he needed in life, thanks to his father’s business as a cloth merchant. Biographers say that as Francis came to God, he gave away his father’s cloth to the poor and in an argument over this action, Francis denounced his father’s wealth publicly and stripped naked in the town square.
That was the start of Francis’ life of simplicity. He chose to ‘live poor,’ to show that the only important thing in his life was God, not tangible items. When you own things, they own you (anyone who owns a house can relate to that — the constant need for expensive upkeep!) The more you have, the more you need to do to keep those things.
Consumerism hurts our souls, since we measure our value as a person by the things we have at the cost of our integrity. It hurts the environment because of the natural resources used to produce the goods we want and how we dispose of those items we no longer want. It hurts our health as we stress over how to pay for everything. And it hurts society as there are too few with too much and too many with too little.
Reflection: Start living a simpler life by asking yourself when about to buy something “Do I need it or do I want it?” If it’s a matter of want, put it back!