I suspect that most of you who visit this site regularly are already living quite intentionally, and that you have made many choices to live according to spiritual values. I don’t imagine you would be interested in the posts and discussions on DDF if you were materialistic or overly concerned with money and status.
But the longer we try to live well, the more apparent it becomes that real discernment is in order. A lot of decisions are not simple, even decisions involving a lighter, more eco-friendly life. Which is a lighter way to shop, driving a car fueled by gasoline to various shopping malls, or ordering online and having items delivered by trucks, which also burn fuel? Susan Vogt points out early in Blessed by Less that prudence is a crucial aspect of uncluttered living.
I could save money by not having health or life insurance. Maybe I’d be lucky and not get a serious illness or have an accident. If I do get sick, however, it puts the burden on others to pay for my care. That’s not fair. I may decide that getting a simple vaccine to prevent a disease is like playing God and I will trust God to take care of me. My view is that God gives us the intelligence and resources to learn how to prevent many diseases. To ignore those talents disrespects God’s gifts to us.
Prudence says that when possible I should buy clothes and other goods that will last. It may cost a little more in the short run, but it’s good stewardship. Likewise, having some savings for an emergency is not frivolous but good planning. Prudence is taking an umbrella when rain is forecast.
Prudence means appreciating that most of the things of this world are good and enjoyable. Use them in moderation. There is no need to disdain comfort, useful or beautiful possessions, and uplifting recreation as long as these purchases are in harmony with two basic values: People are more important than things and Time is more important than money.
- What have you learned about discernment in making choices for a life of integrity, faith, and justice?
- Have you ever begun to do something one way, only to learn that perhaps it wasn’t the most prudent choice?