“[Jesus said:] Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
There’s nothing like having all of your earthly possessions loaded onto a truck to realize just how much you own. For the last 6 months, my husband Will and I have purged and decluttered and minimized like our lives depended on it.
And really, our lives kind of DO depend on it. We have been trying to follow what Jesus says in Luke 12:15. We have made radical changes in our lifestyle. I am just over halfway through my year of no shopping, and we have donated bags upon bags upon boxes of books and clothes and household goods. My husband Will and I estimate that we have shed about 60% of our possessions in the last 6 months, just in time to move into a house in Philadelphia that is just a bit bigger than our apartment was in Gettysburg.
And yet. As the movers loaded our possessions on the truck, we realized just how much we still own. Even though we got rid of so much, we still have– compared to most of the world– an abundance of possessions, relics from a time where we bought and consumed unintentionally and automatically.
When asked, most of us would agree that our lives are not about amassing material possessions. But when it comes to our spending habits, our habitual online purchases, and the way we look at our stuff and our money, it turns out that our actions and our words may tell a different story.
Before discovering minimalism and connecting it to my Christian faith, I was an online shopping addict who rarely thought about how being a follower of Jesus affects how I buy and spend and look at my possessions. Sure, I tithed. Sure, I gave to charities and non-profits. But I continued to accumulate stuff and I continued to spend without much thought.
Jesus shows us a different way. Jesus shows us that our life’s purpose is not to accumulate a bunch of stuff. We were created by God to love God and love others, to serve God and serve others.
What would our lives be like if we started to refocus our lives and lived the way Jesus calls us to live, focused on God and neighbor and less on our stuff? What would your life be like?