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I talked with my sister-in-law recently. She has been working part-time for a year or two now, unemployed for over a year before that. She has learned to live on very little, so much less than what I would consider the bare essentials. And it makes me wonder: what is sufficient to live on? How many of my so-called needs are really not needs at all?

 A robin needs only a nest, food, and perhaps a puddle to bathe in. My cat is content with food, water, and a warm place to curl up, preferably my lap. She would also like a bit of my turkey sandwich and a taste of my ice cream, so I suppose she is not as satisfied as the robin in the holly tree. But her tastes are definitely simpler than mine. Do I really need a television, stereo, computer, closet full of clothes, and half a dozen flavors of ice cream? I probably don’t need all those shelves of books either, but I can’t imagine parting with them. I’d get rid of the television and half my clothes before the books. But that’s just me.

 Paul said, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12) He didn’t say it was better to be poor. The secret is to be content however life finds you. I don’t have to give up my books and my computer, but I do need to hold onto them loosely. They must not be too important in my life. If my possessions take too much of my attention or time, I probably need to get rid of some. Maybe even a few books. And I do need to share with those in need, when I find myself living in plenty. Because I know the blessings I have are more than sufficient.

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