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The Simple Life

by Jerry Ousley  
7/11/2009 / Career

Recently we watched a movie that was made back in 1999. It was entitled, "The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn." If you haven't viewed it I highly recommend it. In a nutshell, Noah Dearborn had been influenced by his uncle to live simply, peacefully, and to spend his life doing the work that made him happy. He was a carpenter and a master at it if I might say so. He didn't own a single power tool, made his home in the loft of the barn, and even tools like his lathe and band saw were foot operated. He had no electricity or running water and even though the movie was set in 2008, he took no interest in modern things. He wasn't a radical or anything like that. He merely chose to live simply. Because of it, even though he looked to be a man in perhaps his sixties, he was now one hundred years old.

There's a lesson in that for us. He did what made him happy. He wasn't seeking for wealth or an easy life; only what really made him happy. He wasn't looking for retirement because his work fulfilled his life. As I watched this movie it occurred to me that perhaps more of us need to adapt his attitude. I'm not even remotely suggesting that we cut off our electricity and go back to the early twentieth century. But I am saying that maybe we need to take some time to find out what really makes us happy. We work to earn money so we can spend it on frivolous things that put us in debt, and so we have to work harder to make even more money. Do we really need what we have or could we make life a bit simpler for ourselves?

In our modern day economy, things are bad. We are quickly approaching a 10% unemployment rate. We are looking to our government, which itself is surviving on borrowed money, to bail us out. After all, haven't we paid the taxes to insure our incomes and survival? Perhaps; but should we rely on this? Again, I'm not suggesting that we stop unemployment checks and government handout checks. Some of you deeply depend on those.

What I am pondering on is that maybe this bad economy could be a blessing in disguise. Those gifts that are imbedded within us; that desire for work that we love to do; that longing to live the simpler life that we have pushed deep down inside and dismissed because people would think us to be weird, maybe, just maybe it's time to let them rise up. Colossians 3:23-24 says, "And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." Isn't this telling us that our boss is not man but the Lord? Does it not suggest that we should be at peace with ourselves in the work we do and involve ourselves in those gifts He has placed within us? I think so.

I am not the authority. But what if those things that are within us became our means of living? What if we took our talents and what we may call our hobbies and turned them into our means of making a living? What if, instead of hurrying, hustling, and being a part of what helps to make us sick in our bodies, we became happy and heartily did our work for the Lord? What if, instead of being interested in accumulating wealth, we based our expenses and our lives on what we earned from the work of our hands the work that makes us happy? What if, instead of looking forward to retiring and doing nothing, we made it our intent to work at what makes us happy until we finish our lives? It provides a very interesting scenario, don't you think?

We can be happy in life. I realize that there are exceptions to what I am saying and that these few simple words won't solve all our problems. But one other thing I feel like saying is that when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, he was cursed to earn his living by the sweat of his brow. It meant that he was going to have to work to survive. That's a part of the curse that God has chosen not to undo, at least, not until Heaven becomes our home. But what if despite the curse, God put gifts in our lives that would soften the curse giving us abilities to earn our keep doing things that made us happy? It's entirely possible and maybe, just maybe the answer to a lot of our problems. Seek God today. Let's turn our lives over to Him and seek His will. We might just find a simpler, happier life in that silver lining of the looming storm clouds overhead.

Jerry D. Ousley is the author of ïSoul Challengeï, ïSoul Journeyï, ïOrdealï, ïThe Spirit Bread Daily Devotional and his first novel ïThe Shoe Tree.ï Visit our website at to download these and more completely free of charge.

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