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Live Simple
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"We should live simply so others can simply live.” Although I’ve forgotten the author, the words of this quote have stuck in my mind for several years, perhaps, because they say so much about our responsibility as a nation blessed by God with material prosperity. It’s no secret that, in many parts of the world, people are living on the brink of starvation while we peruse stacks of holiday catalogues debating whether or not we should purchase a plasma TV for Christmas.

I once read about a former janitor who embodied the spirit of this quotation. Genesio Morlacci left $2.3 million to a small Roman Catholic College in Montana. He died at the age of 102, a widower with no children. He amassed this fortune working 18 and 20-hour days (and we think 12-hour shifts are exhausting) operating a dry cleaning business. In his retirement years he worked as a part-time janitor.

“Gene”, as he was known, wanted to help others obtain the formal education he never had. And, his endowment to the University of Great Falls has generated roughly $100,000 a year for scholarships on this small campus.

But how did he do it? He saved; he invested; and he didn’t buy things he didn’t need! In a nutshell, Gene lived simply. He was even known to remove worn collars from his shirts, and then sew them back on, with the frayed side down!

Do We Need It?

Now, I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t buy a new shirt when the collar frays. If we need it, and can afford it, we should get it. But the key question is, “Do we need it?” For, the line sometimes blurs between “needs” and “wants.” We often convince ourselves we “need” something, when in reality, we “want” it. But the blessing comes when we purchase less of what we “want.” For then, we can actually help provide for others more of what they “need.”

We are a nation richly blessed by God. But the Lord blesses us so that we in turn can bless others. This holiday season, look around and find someone in need; they’re all around us. Then, experience the joy that comes from living more simply, so someone else can simply live.

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By Kathy A Lewis. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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