A Simple Life
Written by Mike Lunsford
“God made man simple, man’s complex problems are of his own devising.” Ecclesiastes 7:30
Living a simple life, or with a discipline of simplicity, is easy to say, but not so easy to accomplish. By definition, simple is: “uncomplicated or uncompounded, freedom from pretense or guile, even austere.”
By this measure I have not done so well…
My working life from age 26 has been in real estate sales. Do you know that real estate sales people only get paid when they assist in a sale and close a property? I have never had a salary, but have had to sell to get paid. I am not complaining! God led me to this opportunity and has blessed my efforts far beyond anything I deserve or expect. But, imagine having two young children and a household with all the commensurate expenses and responsibility without stable income. My answer was to work as long as it took to earn the income necessary to support my family. Seems simple enough doesn’t it?
Simplicity left when I was working 60-80 hours a week trying to meet the expectations of my family while also attempting to meet the needs of a myriad of buyers and sellers. If I did not meet my goal, then I did not get paid, and you know where that leads. During this time I knew God was in charge and that my profession was a direct result of circumstances, which can only be His planning and execution. Even knowing this in my heart, I could not allow myself to fully trust him to meet the needs of my family. So I took the burden in hand and worked 24/7. Realtors are on call whenever a customer calls. When you are successful at what you do it can become easier than other more important responsibilities, like playing with your kids or helping with homework. In so doing, I sacrificed opportunities with my family as my children were growing up.
It is also important to know my drive to success was modeled after people I knew and admired. Comparison being what it is, I sought “things” that spoke of success so that others could bear witness, which felt like the right thing to do. After all, isn’t it ok to enjoy the rewards of success? Isn’t this the messaging all around us? I wanted their approval! I also had an insane desire for security, which led to an ever-growing demand for greater success. Fear of failure is a fearful, unfulfilling taskmaster. How could a man whose faith was so important become so wrapped up in stuff of the world? I wanted to do it all right, but found life complicated by goals and desires more of my choosing than God’s.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.” Matt 6:21 “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” 1 Tim. 6:9.
In 2013, my wife was diagnosed with a very aggressive strain of breast cancer. Discovery was through a very unusual presentation and chain of events that could only have been God led. All of a sudden the “stuff” did not matter. Our focus was on God, the healer, and the hands of the myriad of medical providers responsible for curing Nicci. Our orientation became completely God-centered. Do you see there was nowhere else to turn? Her cure and survival depended on God’s grace. God was teaching me that focus on him must precede everything else. He was gracious and Nicci recovered fully.
Living simply is often construed to mean giving up everything material or distracting; man’s definition. “God made man simple, man’s complex problems are of his own devising.” Eccles.7:30. How do we return to a simple life? Could it be as “simple” as carving out time with God to turn over all you are and have to Him?
How we choose to think about possessions, time, and resources makes life simple or complex. Simplicity sets possessions in proper perspective. Simplicity rejoices in the gracious provision from the hand of God. “Simplicity knows contentment in both abasement and abounding.” Phil. 4:12. I firmly believe holding loosely all God has entrusted to me and in seeking His guidance first and foremost in all things is the path to simplicity in life.
Write This Way: Rick Warren writes, “Daily time spent with the Bible and God is the first step to a simple life.” Starting each day with quiet time, a simple scripture or devotional ( Jesus Calling is one of my favorites), and prayer helps me create a little margin to put the day in perspective. Find what works for you and then practice, practice, practice…
About the Author
Mike Lunsford and his wife Nicci live in Yorktown. They have been at Commonway for 5 years. Mike has been in the real estate and development business most of his working career and continues to enjoy the interaction and involvement it provides. He enjoys time with Nicci and family, golf, working out, and traveling to new places.