A simple and sober life
Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao
April 2, 2014
I like this. I agree. It affirms what I have been doing. It also supports what I recently published on Earth Hour Revisited – Going Beyond Earth Hour Program wherein I wrote: “…conserve money. I will avoid spending money on non-life-necessity things that will eventually constitute more wastes to handle and to recycle. This will be part of avoidance of wastes strategy.”
We easily forget the adage that the person who has most is the person who needs least. Thus, if we are to have more in life, we should not be creating needs for ourselves. We go for a simple and sober life.
The burden of possession! First, we go through all the pain and effort of trying to secure things, and of accumulating them. Then, we spend a lot of money trying to maintain and keep what we have accumulated. Finally, we face the problem of giving away so much stuff that has really been useless most of the time, indeed for most of our life.
• The effort to get and accumulate the things we call our own. A few things we absolutely need, not only to keep body and soul together, but also to enjoy a modicum of comfort and security such that even when rainy days come we are properly provided for. The problem lies in greed: we do not stop at getting the essential things we require for a simple and sober life. We want more, and more, and more. And we want more of the better things of life. We want to have at hand the many things that catch our fancy. And in the process of getting them and accumulating them, we lose sight of our identity as children of our father God. We even forget to pay heed to his wishes and commands: thus, greed breeds many other ills.
•The expense of keeping and maintaining the things we have. The burden of possessing things, most of which are unnecessary for our day-to-day work and life, can be heavy. Space has to be provided; insurance has to be taken out and paid for; an orderly inventory has to be made; and the cost of keeping them in good order can pile up. Furthermore, since time takes its toll in so far as most material things are concerned, depreciation has to be provided. But the biggest cost of all lies in having resources, which otherwise could be put to more productive use for the benefit of many more people, tied up in assets that we can enjoy only sporadically and infrequently. The opportunity cost for the community of most of our mostly unnecessary personal possessions can run up to a considerable sum.
• The problem of passing on inheritance to others. Unless we think this through with prudent anticipation, we can create a problem for many who wish to have a share of the pie that we leave behind. The limitations of the human condition come into full light of day: generally, we can leave much less than others crave for (thus the disappointment of many claimants to our inheritance). We can also leave behind many opportunities for others to quarrel over and be unhappy about. In a few instances, the quarrels can turn vicious, and they end up in costly legal proceedings that leave a bitter taste in the mouth of many people (and impose considerable cost on the estate).
We can save ourselves and many other people a lot of grief if from the very start we adopt this rule for life: to put as much effort into scorning unnecessary material possessions (those that go beyond providing us with our requirements for a simple and sober life) as many others put into acquiring them and piling them up.
For a child of God, we should have the things we absolutely need for our life and work. Bit we should also have the detachment to willingly renounce our dominion over many things, most of which we really do not have absolute need of.