People can make a lot of assumptions when they find out that you live a different type of lifestyle. Whether positive or negative, these assumptions can offer a great learning moment.
For example, every time I tell someone I’m a Christian minimalist, chances are good that their immediate assumption is that I own hardly any material possessions and that I believe possessions are bad.
In general, hearing the word “minimalism” for most people can call to mind an empty room devoid of furniture and color. The assumption is that if one is a minimalist, one believes that owning things is bad.
Here’s the thing– we need some material possessions to live. We need clothing. We need food. Possessions themselves are not bad.
Minimalism isn’t about not owning anything. It’s about being intentional about what we own.
It’s about Intentionality
In the Western world, we have fallen into consumer habits that foster accumulation. We go on automatic pilot, assuming that more is always better.
Our consumer culture encourages this automatic consumption and accumulation. When we consume mindlessly, we buy and consume more, and more money is made by businesses. Corporations literally profit off of our mindless consumption.
Minimalism is a way to wake us up from our automatic behaviors. Minimalists strive for intentional consumption. There is no “right” amount for how much a minimalist should own, but we all are deliberate in how we buy, consumer, and own possessions.
God Saw That it Was Good
There are some streams of Christianity that also assume that material possessions, and our world in general, are bad. Included in this thinking is that our world is so bad, and all of the things in it are bad, so only heaven is good.
This belief is not Biblical, however.
God is the creator of our world. In fact, while creating our world, God proclaimed multiple times:
And God saw that it was good.Genesis 1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:21, 1:25, 1:31
We hear over and over how good God’s creation is during the Creation story in Genesis 1, so obviously, it’s incredibly important for us to know that what God created is good.
Not only is our world and everything in it good, it is also in God’s (metaphorical) hands:
The earth is the Lord ‘s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.Psalm 24:1-2
God is holding both us and our world. God has not abandoned our world. It is good, and it is God’s.
This means that the world and everything in it is not bad, and are in fact “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Since material possessions are part of God’s world, they are not bad.
But even though possessions aren’t bad, we also have a responsibility to use them wisely. God created our world, and the world is entrusted to our care.
We are called to use Creation and our God-given resources in intentional ways that glorify God and build up God’s kingdom on earth.
We are invited by God to be deliberate in how we use the resources God has given us. Let us go forth, intentional in how we buy and consume, in Jesus’ name.