I don’t mean any disrespect here. I don’t intend to but Jesus in a box. I’m not trying to pull Him down or exalt minimalism to some sort of divine call.
I just want to point out that Christians are all too eager to dismiss cultural ideas such as minimalism, environmentalism, or any other “popular idea” before they’ve given it a good look. And I think minimalism could give Christianity some ideas on how to live a Christ-like lifestyle.
The Minimalists website defines minimalism: “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” In talking about the different people who choose to live as minimalists, they go on to say: “minimalism has allowed them to pursue purpose-driven lives.”
If you know anything about the teachings of Jesus, I probably don’t need to offer an explanation. But in case you don’t, the Bible records Jesus as teaching something very similar – get your focus off stuff and yourself and onto loving God and doing good for others.
If minimalism was a thing back in the day, Jesus was probably considered one.
Just think about it:
Jesus didn’t own a home: “Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” – Luke 9:58
Jesus told us to get our focus off of “stuff” and instead focus on what’s important: “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom (loving God and others) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33 (Parenthesis comment is mine)
And again….“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:19-20
I’ve been a follower of Christ for 43 years and I have a degree in Biblical Studies so I could take you through more parables and accounts of where Jesus continued to stress this point. I could take you through Paul’s letters and bring up more verses to support the early church’s teaching that “nothing should control you save Christ.” You can’t deny that there’s a theme of giving, sharing, sacrificing and freedom as opposed to gaining, greed, selfishness and bondage that runs throughout.
I could get on my soapbox about how Christians should be leading the way in environmental issues, but I’ll save that for another time.