Recently my very pregnant wife and I moved houses. The move was two-fold, with our first child on the way we needed to look for a better suited house to bring this gift into the world. We were living on a shared property, with paper thin walls, and it wasn’t going to work. My parents were also in need of a place to stay, so we ended up moving out and moving my parents into the spot we were staying in. So, we packed all our stuff into a garage and moved into a small garden flat that friends graciously offered to us while we transition. The flat is a small – it’s nothing special. It came with the essentials – a bed, fridge, plates, cups, knives and forks, one or two pots and a pan. Initially we had to switch gears from what was by no means an abundance of stuff, to a much more minimalistic living space. I realised that this is more than most of our fellow countrymen have. It has proven to be lifechanging. Here are 4 ways minimalism – living with less – has shaped my Christian faith.
It has made me redefine treasure.
“Wherever your treasure is there your heart will also be.” – Matthew 6:21
Recently this verse has taken a new meaning to me. I thought I had it figured out, but boy, was I wrong. By no means did nor do I think I will ever have it fully figured out. I would never had called the stuff we had “never ending piles” or “treasures,” but there has been a subtle accumulation of stuff that just seems to happen. Recently I asked myself, what was I forgetting about by putting my time into the subtle accumulation of stuff. And by stuff I mean those pots that sit in the back of the cupboard that NEVER seem to get used, or that shirt that was worn once, or that pair of shoes you got for a special occasion and never wear. All that stuff took time, it took your time. What could that time have been focused on? That was good, lovely, and Kingdom expanding? I challenge myself with this every day.
“Life is not measured by what you own.” – Luke 12:15
It has shown me we need to trust in God’s provision more.
As we went through our home to declutter items we had held onto for years, I began to investigate what it was that was motivating us to keep so many of these “just in case” items? From an old sauté pan to mounds of unused linens and clothes. We were holding on to so much. Why? I slowly began to realise that it might stem from a trust issue. While I thought I believed my God would provide all my needs, I was living as though it was my job alone.
“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable, their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”- 1 Timothy 6:1
In this era of credit cards, robotic vacuum cleaners and online shopping, it’s easier than ever to become self-reliant and forget our need for God. I tell you what though, it’s a deceiving and slippery slope.
It has shown me how important it is to be a good steward.
I used to believe that being a good steward of my possessions meant holding on to it all.
However, when we stockpile our “extras” and “back-ups” in our garages, closets and storage units, we become like the servant who hid his bag of silver in the ground, afraid he’d lose it all (Matthew 25:14-30).
We have a responsibility to use what we’ve been given to glorify God. There are people who genuinely need some of the items we hold on to for our “what-if” scenarios. Whether it’s your skills, faith or extra crib sheets, don’t bury them.
It has shown me we need to love people more.
“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion- how can God’s love be in that person?” – 1 John 3:1
As we moved our stuff into storage, I have been challenged. We should find more joy in generosity than we do in accumulation. When we see our stuff for what it is – stuff, we are in a better position to give generously, lean into greater trust, and love people the way we are told to. Letting our excess become somebody else’s treasure has sparked more joy in me than any material item ever has. Generosity plants a seed of hope in both the life of the giver and the receiver.
My revelation was more than an encounter, it was a divine appointment. God promises to meet all our needs. He will lift you from the muck, mire and mounds of clutter so that that you can ditch the abundance of stuff and pursue a more abundant life with less, which I believe is a more God glorifying life.