Since the day I embarked on this minimalist journey, one verse couldn’t stop coming to my mind – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
I’ve always associated this particular scripture with investing your money for the purpose of God and not accumulating money for yourself. Recently I realized how true this verse can be in our world that promotes consumerism and how the act of ‘hoarding’ things has been my way of life. However, in the past, I did not spend extravagantly on stuff. I still cultivate the spirit of giving to the Lord and people in need. But I thought I could spend the rest of my (extra) money to buy stuff that makes me happy. I thought it as a way God bless me with things that I love.
But like how I’ve described the initial reason why I aboard this minimalism voyage, I see that my ‘innocent’ wants has cause harm to people and environment to the extent that I couldn’t even imagine. (Because this ‘inconvenient truth’ is hidden from the public so that consumerism can survive)
- YOLO & your time is limited.
So when I started to wonder “What do God think about minimalism?”, I found out that minimalism is reflected in His Word all this while. Jesus is a minimalist. Beside the above verse from Matthew 6, Jesus did talk about “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” in the Parable of the rich fool (in Luke 12). In this parable, Jesus told a story of a rich man who has ‘TOO MANY stuff’ and builds himself a bigger storage space for it and thought it will last him for a loooong time. Jesus rebuked and said life can be taken away from him and what is he going to do with ALL his stuff! When we are distracted by so many things, we forget that our lives are so fragile and unpredictable. At the end of our lives, our possession has no value at all. Jesus ends the story by saying “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
- Buying stuff will not give you security.
Okay, this point described so much about me and recently described a lot of people out there as I observed. When we grew up, we are taught this ‘principle-in-life’ that we need to possess certain things at a certain time of our lives. Example: “Everyone is having coffee machine at home, you should have one too”; “You wanna buy bigger house and furnish it nicely”; “You need another pair of running shoes just like that Nike ambassador since you are on with this fitness goal, even though you already have one”; “you need to travel twice a year or your life will be miserable compared to your friends”.You buy and consume not because you need it, but because the ‘society’ makes you believe as you become successful, you should get more and better stuff. Something like FOMO. There is nothing wrong in buying better products (that’s actually a good principle in minimalism), but it is wrong to buy it because that’s what people think, and not doing according to norm will make you feel ‘alien’ or a failure. No! Don’t buy because you are afraid. Don’t buy houses (as an investment) just to make sure you still have money or possession if the economy goes down. You don’t need stuff to be happy or secure. (But the companies out there constantly promote this math: more stuff = more happiness)
Jesus reminded us that if we put our trust in Him, our needs will be fulfilled, no matter what happens in the world. It is simply because YOU are much more valuable than YOUR stuff.
Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:27-34)
- Be content & Live Intentionally
One BIG lesson that minimalism has taught me so far is to be content with whatever you have NOW. It teaches me that I do not need so many things in my life. And this is also a great lesson we can learn from the Bible.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:6-9)
Going minimal will be able to help us fully aware of our intention of having (or hoarding) certain things in life. Actually, this principle can even apply in other areas of our lives such as habits and relationship. Having less stuff help me to be grateful for every single thing that God have bless me with and also reaffirms me that “I am enough, God is enough”.
- Being a good steward.
We heard about being a good steward of money. Spend wisely and responsibly. But being a good steward also is about caring for the environment and people around us (basically all creation of God).
I’d talk in my previous post (Why I decided to become a minimalist), about how my shopaholic habit comes to an end after knowing the cruel reality of fast fashion. I think everyone aware but did not fully understand how much humanity has exploited the earth in the name of progress and consumerism. We have so many choices of food, products, and services today than we can ever have 40 decades ago.
Did you know that God has already talk about not exploiting the earth, consume responsibly, and trust that He provides, long time ago? The law of Sabbath was given because everything needs rest. Fast fashion and huge consumption of products are certainly not taking any ‘sabbath’.
But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten. (Leviticus 25:4-7)
As good stewards of God, this is our responsibility since the creation. In Genesis 1 “God saw that it was good” in everything He has created.
♥ ♥ ♥
Understanding minimalism from the point of view of Christianity has certainly reaffirmed my decision to live as a minimalist. Of course, I am still a noob and have so much more to learn and improve in my journey. Nevertheless, I am sure I can progress, little by little, everyday, with the help of so many people that has already walk on this minimalism way, and certainly by the grace and wisdom from the Lord.