He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21

Once, a fox discovered a vineyard. It was completely enclosed by a wall, except for one small hole. When the fox tried to enter the hole, he discovered he could not. It was too small. So he decided to fast for three days until he became thin enough to enter through the hole. He began fasting and, after three days, was scrawny enough to make it. He entered the hole and found to his delight that the vineyard was a virtual paradise. He ate and ate until he became sleek and fat.

But when he wanted to leave, the fox couldn’t get through the hole. So he had to fast again until he was thin enough to get out. It took three days before he could make it. He finally exited the vineyard just as thin, scrawny and hungry as he had been nine days before.

So it is with life. We struggle so hard for things that don’t bring lasting satisfaction. We work long days in order to be able to purchase things that break within the month. We wish and long for things we soon grow tired of.

If we would ask ourselves the following three questions and answer them honestly, we would learn to escape the clutches of materialism. First, where did you come from? If you think deeply you will discover that you came from your background. Your friends and relatives formed you in a large way. Further back than that, you come from your parents. You may not like everything they did, but they taught you enough that you now know better, don’t you? So you owe them. Still further back, you come from God. He holds ultimate ownership.

Second, where are you going? You are going to the grave. You must be prepared so that if you should die at any time, you would have no regrets. If you knew you were going to die in six hours, what would you do? Why not go ahead and do those things just in case?

Third, to whom are you responsible? The answer is unquestionably God. The Scriptures say, “…it is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27). They also say in Matthew 12:36-37 “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak. The words you say now reflect your fate then; either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.”

Remember that as fat and sleek as we may become in life, we will leave just as naked and scrawny as we came in. This is the path to lasting peace and the discovery of the benefits of simplicity.