Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Challenge to Live on Less

"What keeps us from living on less? It's not just our love for things, it's our fear of loneliness or abnormality. If simple living were the norm in our churches, it would be much easier to live simply ourselves. But we don't want to be left out or seem weird. We need examples to follow, models of simpler lifestyles that we can observe firsthand to convince us it's really possible--and desirable. We need to see people we respect, people like us who choose to live differently. A mandate to 'live simply' won't do it. It's easier to follow footprints than to follow orders. If most people in the church have new cars, beautiful homes, hot tubs, and cutting-edge entertainment centers, it's hard to remember these aren't what the church is here for.

...The Christian community should be filled with people who set a cap on their lifestyles, giving away everything above that amount. We need to draw a line and stop accumulating beyond it. Give away everything else. That isn't even sacrificial giving, it's just giving according to our ability. Simple as it is, the models are so few and far between that people don't even conceive of how it could work." (Money, Possessions and Eternity, pps. 297-298)

I'm challenged by the concept of setting a limit on how much I spend on myself, and giving away everything else. Throughout my career, God has blessed me with steady income and regular raises and bonuses. It seems that whenever my income increases, so does the amount of "stuff" I accumulate. As my income has grown, so has my lifestyle. It's a very different mindset to decide to live on a certain amount, and to give away anything beyond that.

I told you this book would be challenging!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been giving a lot of stuff away for quite a few years now, and am in the process yet again of giving a lot more stuff away since we just moved into our new house, which is much smaller than the one we were in before.

I started giving a lot away really after our house flooded the first time in 1995 and it's gotten consistently easier to give lots of stuff away in the years since. And it's a really GOOD feeling to unload.

Plus, no matter how much I give away, we still always seem to have plenty and more than we "need," so I keep working at it.

Thanks for this post, Lisa! It's a good one that we all need to follow.