I’ve been investigating the concept of minimalism a lot lately. For those not familiar with the idea, minimalism is essentially stripping your life to the essentials of things that add value or bring joy (for a great expansion on this topic, see Joshua Becker’s article, “What is Minimalism?”). The reason I mention it here is I believe minimalism ties in directly to being a disciple of Jesus. In fact, I would argue Jesus Himself was a minimalist. Minimalism is consistent with Christ’s teaching to sell your possessions and give to the poor (Matthew 19:16-22).
It aligns with the fact Jesus had no home of His own (Matthew 8:19-20), with the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), and with His instructions in the well-known parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). You don’t have to become a minimalist to be a disciple of Jesus, but if you are serious about living as He did, I believe you will be drawn towards minimalism.
The pile of stuff with which most of us have surrounded ourselves has nothing to do with living a life that honors Jesus. One of the greatest indicators of our love for Christ is how we spend our money. How many of the things surrounding you truly add value to your life? In what way do they reflect the character of Christ? I think it’s worth asking the question of “could I live without this?” in regards to each of our possessions. If we have trouble letting go of something, it could be an indication we are clinging too tightly to earthly belongings. Jesus is sufficient. We need nothing more than Himself and His great love for us.
Minimalism also applies to how we spend our time. In many modern cultures, busyness has become a badge of honor. You can tell how important someone is by how busy they are. Or so we think. The truth is, disciples of Jesus live their lives in an easy rhythm. They take time to sit quietly in God’s presence and soak Him in. There is an urgency to our mission, but never confuse urgency with being rushed. God’s sovereign plan will be accomplished in His time which is totally outside of our own concept of hours and days. We need to be diligent doing the work He created us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10), but never hurried. When we are totally reliant on Jesus, we will breathe easily and peacefully. It is only when we try to do things on our own we become stressed and busy. For all of your activities, ask yourself if it adds value to your walk with Jesus.
Minimalism is not a traditional Christian concept, but it is Biblical. Jesus instructed us to live humble and simple lives, unencumbered by the things of this world. He promised us peace. These are also the tenants of minimalism. I challenge you to begin asking the difficult questions about your possessions, how you spend your money, and how you spend your time. Are there things you need to sell or give away? Are there commitments you need to cancel? Do you need to change your priorities so you have only one, that being to follow Christ with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:25-28)? Take some time for honest reflection to see if minimalism might lead you on the path to serve Jesus better and to walk more closely attuned to Him. We all need less stuff, less busyness, and more Jesus.