Daily Riches: Simplicity … Clearing the Way to the Best (Robert Lawrence Smith, Maya Angelou, Montaigne, Simone Weil, Arthur Conan Doyle)

“Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” Maya Angelou

“‘What do I need?’ is simplicity’s fundamental question, a question that rubs against our natural proclivity for acquiring things, a questions few of us feel ready to address. America’s favorite weekend activity is not participating in sports, gardening, hiking, reading, visiting with friends and neighbors. It’s shopping. More often impelled by acquisitiveness than by necessity, we set out to buy or just to look and dream. We gain a false and fleeting sense of self-esteem from our ability to purchase expensive things for ourselves and our children. The vibrancy of our busy malls has made them virtual community centers. We leave boredom and emptiness behind as we browse through their glittering corridors of stuff. Yet many of us have learned that acquiring too much stuff can get in the way of happiness, that it can obscure what is best in us, lead us back to boredom and emptiness, corrupt our children’s values. We often step out of the mall blinking in the sunshine at the end of an almost-vanished afternoon feeling unsatisfied, regretful, grumpy. … Montaigne wrote, ‘All other things – to reign, to hoard, to build – are, at most, inconsiderable props and appendages. The great and glorious masterpiece of man is to be able to live to the point. Simplicity helps us to live to the point, to clear the way to the best, to keep first things first.” Robert Lawrence Smith

“So complex is the human spirit that it can itself scarce discern the deep springs which impel it to action.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“All sins are attempts to fill voids.” Simone Weil

“Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘Watch out!
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
life does not consist
in an abundance of possessions.’”
Luke 12:15

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you “discern the deep springs which impel” you away from simplicity? towards acquisitiveness? Are you trying to fill a void? What would that be?
  • Are you “on guard against all kinds of greed?”
  • Have you found a way to withdraw from cares that “will not withdraw from you?” How?

Abba, help me heed Jesus’ stern warning. Free me of a need to acquire and own, and from revelling in an abundance of things.

For More: A Quaker Book of Wisdom by Robert Lawrence Smith


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”