Less Stuff = More Time and Energy for God's Kingdom
by Patrick Roberts 11/15/2007 / Christian Living
We can get by with less stuff. This will help us to spend more time and energy on God's kingdom goals.
Much of God's kingdom is made up of the relationships we share with one another. We live out heaven on earth as we pray and grow together in His Spirit. This requires time and energy.
Let's give all-out obedience a try. If God fails to show up we can always go back our same-old, self-destructive lifestyles. We can always take up our worldly trails again if Christ fails to lead us into something better than worldliness. But I don't think that anyone will turn back from sincerely following Him after catching even the slightest glimpse of His awesomeness, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this.
Here are some simple possibilities: Use the things you already own until they wear out. Own two pairs of pants instead of ten. Own two pairs of shoes instead of twenty. Own one car instead of three. Reduce your monthly expenses. Whittle your bills down to one instead of six.
The less you own the less you have to worry about losing. The less you owe, the less you have to worry about being enslaved to debt. The less you invest in this world, the less you have to lose in general. But God's people are called to invest themselves into that which will truly last.
The less clutter we own, the less susceptible we'll be of this deception, that there is any security at all in possessions. Another related presumption is that we mortals have ever provided for our own needs.
I think that Christ might have a good-natured laugh at the silly, busy-body mentality of average men who see their lives from one bill or one meal to the next. He still asking, "What am I to do with you all? How many times must I tell you and show you by signs and miracles that there is so much more to Me?"
To be sure, the simplicity of a Christ-centered outlook strikes fear into anyone who hides behind a veil of life-complications. It is commonplace for both churched and un-churched people to suppose they are as complicated as their swirling clouds of merchandise.
Consider the benefits of using public transportation. It can be a humbling experience at times, but it opens up one's life to another world of possibilities. There's a whole city full of interesting people you will encounter in your travels, whom you would have never met had you stayed in your tightly-sealed, air-conditioned, privacy-bubble-on-wheels. Of course, you may miss the good old days when you could carry on whole conversations about your terrible car, those terrible car mechanics and that terrible rush hour traffic. And you might miss out on a wealth of conversations that start with something like "Whoa, buddy, how 'bout them soaring gas prices?" "What gas prices?" you would have to say, "I haven't paid for gas for over a year now."
Without your car you won't be able to drive to the gym, which is ten miles out of the way, so you'll have to cancel your monthly gym fees, which you weren't using anyway, which will work out better than if you were imagining yourself going to the gym because you'll be getting real-life exercise from walking everywhere. You'll be forced to cut down on impulsive plans and spend more time with your family, whether at home or as you escort them to wherever they need to go. You'll be forced to reduce your impulsive shopping, because everything you buy, you also have to carry. And, because you can only carry so many groceries on the bus, you will learn not to waste so much food. If you must buy furniture, or anything particularly large, don't worry, most of these stores have ways of shipping large items directly to your door for a minimal fee.
Then again, personal transportation comes with its own set of advantages and possibilities. You might help other people move their stuff. Depending on your situation, any combination of planes, trains or automobiles might be most appropriate for you. God's kingdom is spiritual in nature, therefore we should have freedom to drive, ride, fly or swim, whatever needs be.
On a similar note, you might be better off living in either an apartment, condo or house. There are different advantages to each, whether location, price or size. Again, it depends on what Christ requires of you. He will be your main real estate Agent in any case.
In general, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain while we actively seek God's kingdom. You might experiment with these things, in all humility, going so far as to move you and your family's home base or change your basic day to day living. In any case, wherever God calls you, there also your needs will be. There are a variety of things you might minimize in order to concentrate on Christ more as you get by with less.
If the prospect of downsizing seems offensive to you, then it probably remains for you to let Christ detach you from your enslaving love of money. Let's all of us be wary of any impulse to defend our lifestyles. Why so defensive? It's a matter of spiritual practicality that we should check ourselves in every aspect of our living, to see whether or not Christ is truly our All in all. Only after Christ is our All in these little things will it be appropriate for us to look beyond our immediate surroundings and see if He might send us elsewhere.
It is within the Almighty's reach that this gangrenous limb of material-dependence be amputated from our lives. Genuine spiritual maturity is accessible in Christ if we simply ask Him and then wait for Him to do things His way.
by Patrick Roberts
This is an excerpt from To the Church of the West, Scattered Throughout the World. Find this book and similar articles at www.BooksByPatrick.com
Patrick is an average Christ-seeker. His goal is to turn people to Jesus Christ.