Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Biblical Case for Minimalism...or at least simpler life

I'm a Christian and I take the title seriously. I'm THAT kind of Christian...you know...the kind that likes to read the Bible and tries to base her life and actions around what it says. The kind that believes I've been justified through grace and faith, but also believe God wants me in a living, passionate relationship with Him, that will have me living a life that looks different from non-believers.

When I read Scripture, I find evidence and instruction for living a simple life. No where in the Bible does it say "buy, buy, buy" or "consume, consume, consume" or "acquire wealth and possessions and material things" or "always want more".

Instead, it says....

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-8  (Paul writing about the love of money) 
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." ~ Hebrews 13:5
Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." ~ Luke 12:15 (Jesus addressing a greedy man). 
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21 (Jesus giving the sermon on the mount)

The above sentiment is echoed in Luke's gospel, but it's preceded by instruction to sell all your possessions.

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no month destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Luke 12:33-34

There is motivation in my quest for a simpler life. Motivation that far exceeds the freedom that results from owning and taking care of a house filled with stuff. Motivation that has a face and a name and needs hope.

I have a passion for bringing hope to children living in extreme poverty. I believe God calls His followers into a simpler life for a reason. As a first world Christian, I need to be released from wealth and work to release third world residents from poverty.

My minimalist journey is one motivated by faith and a desire to be obedient to my Lord. When it comes to daily needs and material things, I lack for nothing. Each time I spend unnecessary money on myself, I am missing an opportunity to provide the basic needs for someone else.

It's true...I could have a house full of stuff (I do) and continue buying more and more for myself and still be generous. But that seems a bit hypocritical, doesn't it?

I don't, by any means, claim to have figured it out, nor have I mastered my impluses...sometimes it's two steps forward and three steps back. But I'm thankful to have a purpose and a passion to keep me focused on this journey.

I'd love to hear what motivates you on this journey.




7 comments:

  1. I appreciated this post so much, as it reminded me of when I started on this journey back when I was in my early 20's. I happened to read a book by Randy Alcorn called Money, Possessions, and Eternity. This book was what first really focused my attention on what the Bible says about money and possessions. Since then, I have married and had three children, and we have accumulated a lot of "stuff". It seems much more challenging now to live simply, but perhaps the struggle is good for us. I know we need to be called back to that first motivation.

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    1. I haven't heard of that book...I'll look for it. I'm glad this post spoke to you.

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  2. Reminders like these are such a blessing. So challenging but so true. Lately I've felt it growing inside of me a desire to keep simplifying our possessions and possibly even move to a smaller house. I like the idea of being at the ready to do whatever God wants of me and follow Him wherever He is leading without feeling tied down because of my possessions. I'm working on it...

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    1. I'm so glad you said that about being ready for whatever God might call us to....I meant to mention that, but then forgot!

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  3. Great writing Jill! A pastor at my church talked about this not to long ago. I'm not a minimalist, but I don't like to have things just because. They take space and it's to much work to keep up with a house full of things that are not a necessity.

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  4. Thank you so much Jill

    I have been learning a lot about money and possessions as well in my own life.
    This week Jesus really made me aware that I was only a steward of His money and possessions. In short, everything that I have is simply entrusted to me to do His will and work on earth. This has really taken my focus off of whether I have lots or little, but whether I am using all of what I have for His glory and purpose either because I use it or because I give it away.
    God bless you, Elizabeth

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  5. Wonderful post! I too,am a minimalist,with the exception of good Christian reading material.As a homeschool mother of 5,we read a great deal and with very little good reading in the public libraries,we buy Lamplighter and biographies of missionaries and great preachers.Also,if we had placed our value in 'things',I don't believe we would have ever adopted our 5 children from abroad.What we spend our money on says a great deal about us.

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