Update 5-14-2019: Like everything, I’ve grown and learned more since I first wrote this article. I don’t want to go back and edit or change it, because it gives a good example of what God has taught me and how He has changed me. But if you would like to read my most recent thoughts, please read this article: Minimalism isn’t the Gospel
My faith has been a journey, and my minimalistic life has been a journey as well. Neither faith or minimalism are things you just change and arrive at and be done, they are both a process, something one continually works at.
I wrote this a couple years ago, after I had gotten rid of probably 1/2 our possessions and wanted to get rid of more.
This shares more of my thought process on how I came to the place of wanting a minimalist life:
Over the last few weeks I’m been doing a lot of introspection. I’ve been looking around our home and all our stuff. Think of when you walk into a hotel room and all you have is a bed, lamp, table and chair… I want that. I have been surrounded by stuff my whole life. And clutter sucks the life out of me!
I happened upon some sermons by David Platt on The Gospel and Materialism part 1 and part 2. And I looked around at everything we have and it struck me, how we have so much stuff that we spend all our time taking care of it and getting more of it and we think nothing of other people in our neighborhood, city, state, country or world.
Why do I keep the furniture set downstairs? Well, it was my grandma’s, and she was special to me… Do I use it? Um, no… If I get rid of it will I forget her? Well, no… What other things remind me of my grandma? Oh, a painting in my living room, a bench under the window, some jewelry that I wear on special occasions. Ok, so why do I keep a set of furniture that takes up 4 sq. ft. of the basement and it just sits there? What if I sold it to someone who would enjoy it? What if I took that money and donated it to Amazima ministries so 4 little children could go to school and eat this year?
What if I sold everything in my basement, that has just sat there for the last 5 years and I was able to do more? What if I made enough money to build a community garden to help the less fortunate and teach them how to grow their own food?
What if I got rid of everything that distracts me and changed my neighborhood into a community where everyone knows everyone and takes care of the disabled or elderly that can’t take care of their house and yard? (Instead of driving by and being annoyed with the overgrowth?)
What if I developed friendships here and was able to share the hope of the gospel and everything that God has done for me?
What if what I was doing inspired a few people to do the same thing? What if it spread and we had 100 people getting rid of their stuff, helping people with the money and realizing that people are important? What if more than 100 did it? What if it turned kids away from gangs because their neighbor showed them love? Or stopped someone from committing suicide? Or turned the drug dealer to Christ? Or made it so a child across the world lived? Or if a group of people adopted a whole city in poor country?
Is that furniture set in the basement still that important to me? Is it worth the life of that little person on the other side of the world? What about that antique cookie jar that I’m always being so careful around? What about my collection of bean pots that I never use and have to dust? What about the jewelry that is sitting in a box that I never wear? And do I really need to dump $30,000. into a kitchen to make my life easier? Really?
What kind of impact would that make in the slums of Africa, if I donated $20,000 of it, instead of beautifying my house?
So that’s it. I’ve had enough of this stuff. I’ve devoted too much time and emotion to it already. I don’t need to hang on to things just because a relative had it or gave it to me or… or… or…! I’m sure that now that they have seen what eternity is like, they would wish they could go back, sell their own stuff and serve others.
I guess that is what it comes down to. When we come to the end and we stand before our Creator will He commend us for taking such good care of our house and our collectibles? For working so hard to get us that huge plasma screen TV and blu ray collection? Or perfectly refinished hardwood floors?
Or will He say
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Matthew 25: 34-26
For more on minimalism, click here.