I also like full circles, so I thought it would be fun look at the etymology (origin, history, and evolution of words and their meanings) of the word 'Frugal', since Elisa started us off with the definition in her first post.
Frugal: 1590s, from M.Fr. frugal, from Latin frugalis, from undeclined adj. frugi "useful, proper, worthy, honest; temperate, economical," originally dative of frux (pl. fruges) "fruit, produce," figuratively "value, result, success," related to fructus. Sense evolved in Latin from "useful" to "profitable" to "economical."
I'm happy that "Frugal" was our February theme, because as I was mulling over ways that I save and enjoying everyone's posts, I also was mulling over that good 'ol Love passage, and this particular verse kept coming to mind:
1 Corinthians 13 (NASV)
The Excellence of Love1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
There is so much we can do. But as we consider what we can do, as we sift through all the information and clamoring voices, as we reconsider what we already are doing, we shouldn't just jump to "is this economical?" but should consider "is this profitable?" Like Jeni posted earlier, what are my motivations for being frugal? Because if it isn't love (for God and what He has blessed me with, for my family, for His Church, for the world He created), then, as Paul said, it profits me nothing. If I am busting my tail to do all of these things because they are frugal, but then have no energy or patience left over for my family, then why am I doing them? and is that really profitable? If I spend so much time thinking about things, even if it's about the best, most economical way to use them, they become a burden instead of a blessing. I believe you can be frugally materialistic.
"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Worry goes both ways. I can worry about frugally using what I have just as easily as I can worry about getting what I have when my motivations get skewed and my focus gets shifted away from "how can I honor the Lord with what He's given me?"
This anecdote really struck me as I looked up the etymology of frugally:
- Morton's Fork
- 1889, in ref. to John Morton (c.1420-1500), archbishop of Canterbury, who levied forced loans under Henry VII by arguing the obviously rich could afford to pay and the obviously poor clearly were living frugally and thus had savings and could pay, too.
I'm not exactly sure how to get across what I'm trying to say, because I believe strongly in stewardship. I guess I'm just trying to reiterate Jeni's point of not letting even this good thing become an idol or source of security/conflict/worry in your life. It's great to share ideas, inspire, and even challenge each other, because then we can try new things. And sometimes we will like them, like Sarah trying Aldis at her husband and brother-in-law's recommendations, and sometimes we will realize we are best with what we were already doing and can keep on doing it with more contented focus. But whatever we do, whether it's cash envelopes or spreadsheets, cloth or disposable diapering, whether we sprout our grain or buy WonderBread, or everything in between, we should do it with thanks unto the Lord for His provision and appreciation for the resources and luxury of choice that we enjoy.
here are some last resources before I forget. Seriously, there is so much one could say on this topic!
Free Nutrition & Fitness Tools: