• Simplicity

    Date: 2010.06.23 | Category: faith, saving money | Tags: ,,,,,,,

    Simplicity is a word that’s being thrown around alot lately.  I seem to see it everywhere I look- on the covers of magazines and books, in the headlines, on the blogs.  I’ve traditionally been a “stuff” person.  I figure if some is good then more must be better, right?  But lately I’ve been thinking that maybe LESS really can be MORE.

    Three years ago Chris and I were richly blessed with the proceeds from the sale of our California house.  We used that money to buy a home that is much larger than anything we’d ever even dreamed of owning.  Our logic was that we have the money, we plan to have a house full of kids, we want to have rooms available for guests, and we want to be able to open up our home to our friends and family for gatherings and the like.  And we’ve done all of that with it.  We’ve housed family (including 4 people and a dog for 2 months!), missionaries, and friends.  We’re filling up those bedrooms one kid at a time.  We’ve hosted Christmas and Thanksgiving for 15+.  In the past 6 months we have had houseguests for a total of 4.5 months!

    On the other hand it’s just so much.  I can’t keep up with the housekeeping.  Chris can’t keep up with the yard.  We seem to be accumulating possessions by the truckload because “we have the space to store it”.  Sometimes I find myself reminiscing about the old days when we only had 1150 square feet to maintain.  It was so much more manageable.  And yet we crammed 20 in for bible study regularly.  We hosted big holiday meals.  We had overnight guests.  Neither of us grew up in a home with an extra bedroom or extra space.  We were cozy and we liked it that way.

    And it’s not just housing, it’s technology and possessions and activities and life.  It all seems so much more complicated than it has to be.

    I recently read Living with Less so your Family has More by one of my favorite authors, Jill Savage.  Her premise is that when we choose to live with less- less commitment, less possessions, less debt, less rat race we free up more time and energy and joy.  We have time to sit and connect with our spouse.  We have time to play with the kids.  We have time to do the things we love.  We have energy to do what is important to us because we’re not wasting it on other things.  This book really resonated deep within me.  I’m tired.  I feel pulled by a million good things and don’t know how to accomplish everything I want to do.  I want to invest in relationships rather than things.  To invest in the best rather than the good.

    I’m currently reading Radical by David Platt.  This book takes a hard look at Christianity in America today and challenges us to put aside the American dream for the sake of the gospel.  I was pretty skeptical when I opened this book.  I wasn’t sure that there is anything wrong with the American dream.  I wasn’t sure that there is anything wrong with today’s church model.  But I’ve changed my mind.  The problem with the American dream is that it values reliance on self when we are actually dependent on God.  The problem with today’s church is that it is focused inwardly when it should be focused outwardly.  Why is one preacher preaching to a room full of people who already know the gospel when there are so many in our world who have never heard it?  Why is it that missionaries are the exception rather than the norm when we have all received the Great Commission- “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)?  How many people have I personally reached with the gospel?  How many disciples have I made?  How is it that I can justify living in a 2800 square foot house with a closet full of clothes and a pantry full of food when there are so many living in extreme poverty?  How can I rest knowing that I sponsor one child through Compassion when there are thousands upon thousands more children in such great need?  How can I ignore the urgent physical needs of those in war torn countries?  In remote villages?  In populations devastated by disease and death?

    It’s one thing to simplify my life, my spending, and my calendar so that I’m more rested and feel more in control of my life.  It’s another thing entirely to simplify my life for the sake of spreading the gospel.  To spend less on me so that I can give more to those who truly need it.  To do without, not so that I can invest in retirement or my children’s college education but so that a child can eat today.  Or a village can have clean drinking water.  Or medicine.  Or shelter.  Or the hope of the gospel.  Yikes.

    This all is going to require some serious prayer.  Serious serious prayer.  I value your feedback.  Have you read Radical?  Has your heart been tugged for those who need Christ so desperately?  Has the church lost it’s way?  Are we really being obedient to Christ?

    melody