Finding the Abundant Life

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Guideposts author Elizabeth Sherrill shares a story of discovering simple living in a most unexpected place.

“A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” —Luke 12:15 (rsv)

malcolm muggeridge, british author

John concentrated on driving on the left, while I fretted about clothes. We’d been in England long enough to know that a luncheon invitation meant—dress up! We were on our way to interview the eminent British author Malcolm Muggeridge; John in a suit; I in my black dress, with white gloves bought for the occasion.

We carried a photo of the Muggeridges’ mansion, but we drove twice through the little village of Robertsbridge without spotting it. Stopping a postman on a bicycle, we were directed to a brick cottage where a ruddy-faced, white-haired man was weeding turnips.

“Come on in!” he called. “Kitty’s got the soup on!” In the kitchen, a handsome woman, gray hair pulled back in a bun, was stirring a pot on the stove. “Will you slice the bread?” she asked.

I took off my gloves and cut into a loaf still warm from the oven. We ate at the kitchen table: soup, bread, cheese, honey from their hives. “We have the same lunch every day,” Kitty Muggeridge said. “Saves planning and fuss.”

The big house we’d looked for? “We sold it. We can care for this place in a quarter of the time at a quarter of the cost.” Smaller car. Smaller wardrobes. A well-to-do couple “living simply so others can simply live.”

Yes, giving to others was their initial motivation for paring down, they said—we’d read about their many charities. “But so much else has followed!” For the first time in their busy professional lives, they had time. Time to read, to pray, to garden, to invite strangers to lunch.

Show me those possessions, Father, that stand between me and Your abundant life.
Written by Elizabeth Sherrill
Digging Deeper: Mt 6:19–21, 19:16–30

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