Ministry of Minimalism

I do not believe for one minute that Christians understand anything about proper stewardship. Of course no one is perfect, but it’s as if no one is trying to stay out of debt and give as God wants us to. God wants to bless us but instead we want to BE God and bless ourselves with the newest smartphones, cars, clothes, jewelry, etc. Christians need to think in terms of what God has provided. His provision is perfect while our expectations are hugely inflated: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,Matthew 6:33.

A homeless man asleep on the steps of a Church - their doors were closed.

A homeless man asleep on the steps of a Church – their doors were closed.

Want to live debt free? God wants you to! Jesus didn’t have a place to lay His own head, but we clamor for the latest and greatest…in His name:

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon,” Luke 16.

Hmmm there it is….are we a servant in Christ or just shrugging along from church service to church service?

Conversely, we’ve held onto things for fear of not having enough. Again, it’s a symptom of not trusting God. But when God gives you to overflowing, it’s because He has plans for it! As Christians we are to ‘love our neighbor‘; God gives an abundance for us to use to help His children, not keep back from them: ‘But God said “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’, Luke 12.

I have to admit, I love our minimalist lifestyle. I feel free of the world and it’s traps. I can’t stand the frivolity of the way some Christians live; we are at war with the devil himself and we clamor for more clutter. And more clutter dims the view of our Savior.

We can’t have it both ways.

Love your neighbor as yourself, give to give, and God will Bless you more and in more ways than you ever could imagine. Minimalism will show you what you need rather than what you think you deserve; Christian minimalism shows you who you can help with the abundance you actually have.

Don’t be religious…be a Christian. And love.

The Minimalist.

I have to admit, I love our minimalist life. I feel free of the world and it’s traps. I can’t stand the frivolity of the way some Christians live; we are at war with the devil himself and we clamor for more clutter.

My husband and I, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, have shorn down our life and lifestyle to accommodate our Christian walk. Now some would say that it’s a bit extreme, mostly because way too many Christians still want their one foot in the world. I mean, is it really necessary to have that $500 Coach purse? Did you have to get leather seats in the new car? Just how necessary is the mid-life-crisis Harley? How does anyone NEED a 3000 sqft home unless you’re a Duggar?

This world in which we live allows us – wants us – to go into a debt abyss to have things that others have…not just Christians, ESPECIALLY Christians. We are much more malleable to the government if we have a lot of debt. A lot of believers think that God will provide for their ‘stuff’ – and He will provide….to our NEEDS. We need food, we need clothing, we need shelter. We do not need ‘stuff’.

While having coffee with my husband, we discussed whether Christians should live a lavish lifestyle, whether in or out of debt. My first thought was if this lavishness glorifies God – I don’t think it can. We are to be a light to the world, not a lighting concept: “v14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. v15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. v16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:14-16.

There is a great peace that comes with having less. We are unencumbered with ‘things’ that have no room in a Christian’s life. By choice we have one vehicle; by choice we do not have cable television. By choice we have a home that is reasonable rather than getting one big enough to store more stuff AND still rent a storage unit to store the rest of it. By choice we choose to have less so we can have more with Christ.

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:18-20

Give much? While it is true that God does supply the needs of His people, this is a specific promise that those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to Christ will never suffer lack. God gives us a lot of latitude to do His Will as well as just enough to mess it up. We are OBLIGATED to be the good steward that God wants us to be. He can put money in your bucket OR put a hole in the bottom of it.

And to summarize, 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work…”

The Entitled Christian

I earned it, I deserve it, what about me; mine mine mine. If this is true, then there would be no need for God.

“Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”

Being of the world separates us from God.

People have this misconception that all is theirs whenever they want it, at their fingertips. The Bible does not teach that Christians are entitled to worldly goods and pursuits, but Christians are just as guilty of feeling as entitled. Christians absently believe that God is there to make their life easier with bigger homes and better cars when the opposite is true: We are to have no need of the world; we are called to be separate from it – ALL OF IT.

God gave us what is most precious to Him and we give Him a wish-list.

Before coming to Christ, we were all doomed to a fiery eternal Hell. Our love of goods and things – entitlement – brought us all to need the world, not God. God gave us a part of Himself, Jesus Christ, to be our savior that we would not see Hell if we would just let the world go and believe on Him. How did Christians get to the point of not needing God anymore?

 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

The world in which we live has set us up to fail. Christians need to get that: We have been set up to fail. The devil sets his traps as soon as you separate yourself from what is his – the world and your belief of entitlement to it. The devil knows what bits and pieces of the world that tempts you from a godly life and ministry.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

When you hear a bird outside in 13 degree weather happily chirping, you realize that God has taken care of that bird even in the harshest of conditions. Our entitlement of things to make us happy is not of God; He provides for our needs, not our lusts.

The Christian Minimalist

Minimalism in the end of End Times

Millions of fish are dying and birds are literally falling out of the sky all over the world. The economy ebbs and flows with the fluctuations of the government. The price of oil is driving up the price of gas again to all time highs. Experts say there will be food shortages. Foreclosures are more the norm than not. The middle class is shrinking at a rapid rate, and global warming – temperatures have been at an all time low in much of the world. Sign of the times, you say? It’s the sign of the End Times.

Current events are pointing at a world that is in utter turmoil and the Church is sound asleep. Christians will not go through the Tribulation but that does not mean we will be spared of persecution, wars or famine. No one knows when we will be raptured but the Bible says we need to be prepared for all things.

This is a subject that is very close to my heart because since I was little, I have always lived with as little as possible. It’s as if the Lord was preparing me for a time such as this. Humans live very bloated lives raking in more and more to prove their worth to others, whether they are Christians or not and whether they can afford it or not; it’s in the Church as well as in the world. Letting go of the world is what we are commanded to do according to Scripture. Nowhere in the Bible does it say to amass as much wealth as possible and not spread the Gospel. We are commanded to be ready for the coming Lord.

A minimalist attitude is how Jesus and the Apostles lived. Before Jesus went to the Cross He spoke of when He would return and what to expect. He already spoke of a coming Day when these things would take place and we are not to know when this is but we are to be prepared.

 

The Short List.

As I’ve spoken about in a related post, the simplification of my life to the minimum that I need to survive in this world has been not only laid upon my heart by God but as I look back years ago before my Salvation, I have been headed in this direction for most of my life. And I’ll go back to the Apostle Paul – Getting back to the 9th chapter of Acts when Saul became Paul, suddenly everything was nothing; nothing was everything because Saul was a rich man in those days. When he became Paul, he was in need of only what God would provide and the richer man for knowing Jesus Christ.

I gotta tell ya…Christians are stupid. I’ve never seen a people as led around by the nose like Christians are. Every new thing or whatever their church is purporting is GOD. Why aren’t we studying our Bible instead of getting the second mortgage to pay for a super cool new swimming pool?

So, what is the short list?

First, don’t buy/have something you are not willing to lose. The Lord is not happy with this debt infused opulent lifestyle Christians insist they need. No one needs something that has no value in the Kingdom of God. And by the way, the Lord does not supply mansions on Earth.

Second, identify what is MOST important to YOU, not your friends. Are your photo albums more important than your car? They should be. Is your health more important than a raise at work? It should be. Is your marriage more important than going out with your friends? BETTER BE.

Third, what you think is important to you may not be to God. Pray about it. Listen to Him. He’ll tell you if it’s a smart idea to buy that car when you have a perfectly good 5 year old one at home.

Fourth, be the steward that God wants you to be with what He gave you. We are given a life that God ordained before even the world! Why would you not want to take care of it? Financial stewardship is so important to God. So much of the Bible speaks about money and what we do with it and what we should do with it.

Fifth, like the song says, ‘Don’t worry – be happy’. God wants us to live a joyous life. He wants us to be content with what He provides for us. He wants Jesus to be our focal point, not money or houses or purses or cars or clothes.

The less I have, the less I have to take care of. In other words, having two cars instead of the one we have would require another car payment, maintenance, insurance and gas. My husband and I make one car work for us. Renting makes sense because home ownership cost a lot of money with maintenance and insurance and yard work besides a house payment I would be have to make for the next zillion years.

My commitment is to God, not a house or car or lifestyle. Living a minimalist life is very rewarding and fulfilling. The less I have the more time I have for Him – the way it’s supposed to be.

The Minimalism in Christiandom.

My husband and I, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, have shorn down our life and lifestyle to accommodate our Christian walk. Now some would say that it’s a bit extreme, mostly because way too many Christians still want their one foot in the world. I mean, is it really necessary to have that $500 Kate Spade bag? Is it necessary to get a $1500 LCD/LED (whatever) television when the one you have works just fine? Did you have to get the new car?

This world in which we live allows us – wants us – to go into unsubstantiated debt to have things that others have…not just Christians, ESPECIALLY Christians. We are much more malleable to the government if we have a lot of debt. A lot of believers think that God will provide for their ‘stuff’ – and He will provide….to our NEEDS. We need food, we need clothing, we need shelter. We don’t need ‘stuff’.

While having coffee and beignets with my husband, we discussed whether Christians are supposed to live a lavish lifestyle, whether in or out of debt. The Holy Spirit reminded me that the Apostle Paul was a man of means, was born to a family that was considered wealthy. Saul (Paul) was highly educated, no expense spared for anything. As well, he hated these dirt poor Christians – they were expendable people, much like cattle to him. Why was that? Because he had means and they did not? Saul (Paul) believed in God – but not the gift of Jesus…at least not until the 9th chapter of Acts. The Pharisee of Pharisees looked down his nose and abhorred those that only needed Jesus to live a prosperous life.

Getting back to the 9th chapter of Acts, in a twinkling of an eye, a moment in time that he will never forget, Saul became Paul. Jesus had to blind Paul to get him to see. Everything was nothing; nothing was everything. The Damascus Road experience is something that not every Christian has been through. I know that sounds a bit strange, but think about it. When Saul became Paul, he left the world behind and its contents. I’m talking about basic bible believing Christians, not the prosperity movement.

Luke 9:3 says, “And he said unto them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece’.” Ah…this is where ‘The Lord will provide’! After our salvation, we are SUPPOSED to change into a ‘new creature’, not a spend thrift. And as a new creature in Christ, we are to show the non-believer our Jesus, not our wallet.

As well, Philippians 4:19 says, ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ By who?? JESUS CHRIST. Not Chase Manhattan Bank. Not CitiBank.

Think of it this way: while it is true in a general sense that God does supply the needs of His people, this is a specific promise that those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to Christ will never suffer lack.

God gives us a lot of latitude to do His Will as well as just enough to mess it up. We are OBLIGATED to be the good steward that God wants us to be. He can put money in your bucket OR put a hole in the bottom of it.

And to summarize, 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work…”