I have long been captivated by Jesus image ofMatthew 6:26-30),” yet I feel at times I must clearly be the only one. As a 21st century Christians living in the affluency of western civilization, we do not take Jesus seriously that God cares for our needs so intimately. And before we pull out the political and economic cards, this is not a Republican, Democrat or Libertarian argument nor is it a capitalist versus socialist issue. We can each live more simply REGARDLESS of politics. The question is will we choose to do so? If you think government needs to tax more, fine. Write the government a bonus check. If you think churches or non-profit orgs are the ones who can work better at caring for the needy, great! Log in and start giving away online with your credit or debit card (I recommend supporting UMCOR by the way.)
No one is stopping you from giving. No one is keeping you from living more simply than yourself.
I think Maslow’s Theory on the Hierarchy of Needs really hits on Jesus’ point. The most basic level of need in a human being consists of meeting a person’s biological and physiological needs such as; air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, and sleep. Sounds a lot like what Jesus was implying when it comes to what we ought to be worried about. Maslow’s theory has since been examined and the website link above will do a great job of explaining things.
As a present for finishing middle school, we have given our kids smart phones (I should say, upgraded. They had flip-phones that worked just fine). It wasn’t anything fancy but it is the same phone I have. As we set-up my daughter’s phone, I thought about my own phone, “hmmm, mine is a year and a half old. Should I trade it in?” I caught myself and was like, really?!? There is NOTHING wrong with what I have! It does far MORE than I even use it for anyway and the little computer brain probably wishes someone else owned it.
The salient point is this: I didn’t NEED a new phone. Period.
But I started thinking about some of the things I have been using to live simply, some of the guide posts I have put in place. Ultimately, I think living simply means we have to make some choices:
1. Talk to Yourself. – Do I need it or do I just want it?
2. Live the Bottom Line. – Stop spending and living beyond your means.
3. Trading up or staying put? – Does trading up benefit the Kingdom of God? What part of your life does God get?
4. No Remorse. Ever buy something and then wish you didn’t? Only buy what you need and even then, schedule the trip and make a list.
5. What Matters? This one really takes work. Jesus seemed to keep putting that question to people in different ways. I think He still is doing it but do you listen?
Maybe those might help you or maybe not. Try one or all or maybe they just seem stupid to you. I get it, doesn’t hurt my feelings. I do like what Brother Lawrence said though. He, the simple cook and banger of pots and pans said simply, “That our only business was to love and delight ourselves in God. (The Practice of the Presence of God. 21).” Pretty hard to argue with that but if you want to do so, go back to number 1 above.
Nobody and nothing is keeping you from following Jesus; from beginning the work of casting off what you can’t take with you anyway.