If you claim to be Christian,… I mean if you practice Christianity, no, I mean if you are Christian and do not actively practice minimalism you’re not really Christian.
That is, you’re not really Christlike.
Pontifical, huh? Have I just overgeneralized here? I beg your pardon. But kindly give me another five. I’m certain you’ll see my point.
But What I’m Not Saying
This essay uses a scripture or two from the Bible, the Christians’ Holy Book, and draws several references from them, to uphold minimalism. But I’m not saying you cannot be minimalist if you’re not Christian.
I’m saying we were called to minimalism as Christ’s followers. By Christ. Of course, to be minimalist is not necessarily to be Christian. But the other?
Now I’m Christian first. Then necessarily and willingly minimalist. But if minimalism is still yet unpopular among Christians of my age, then it makes plenty of sense to establish it with the Bible. Yes, minimalism is grounded. Biblical.
Minimalism is biblical, grounded.Tweet this
Hopefully the millions of Christians who’ll read this essay will embrace minimalism. And its highlights will act like an “internal monitor” that asks you, perhaps while admiring yet another iPad ad, “am I still Christian if I tap that?”
Paul to Timothy on Minimalism
Toggle to read the quoted Scripture. Emphases are mine.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 — from jw.org
To be sure, there is great gain in godly devotion along with contentment.
For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out.
So, having food and clothing, we will be content with these things.
But those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge men into destruction and ruin.
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.
Now if as Christian you have ignored this Scripture or haven’t given serious thought to it before or have skipped this part of the Bible or haven’t read up to this point for as long as you have started and been reading the Bible, breathe.
But especially the verse in 10 is a wildly popular quote in the world.
The love of money is the root of all evil. — 1 Timothy 6:10
To Timothy, which would eventually be spread to the entire congregation, and now to all of us Christians, Paul was merely echoing Jesus’ directives on “spareness and simplicity.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary App, 2015)
Let your eye be simple. Observe the non-sowing, non-reaping, and non-gathering birds of heaven, whom your Father always feeds. — Mt. 6:22, 26
So why aren’t Christians from whose treasured Holy Book all this is drawn already all minimalists? Indeed, this is a very difficult question for me. Several answers would settle it. But every one of them will make me judgmental. What’s more who am I to assign anyone a spiritual agenda?
Casting judgment wasn’t Paul’s purpose in giving those directives. Neither is it mine in using them to establish a basis for minimalism in Christianity.
So, rather than answer why Christians aren’t all minimalists, I’ll highlight the key areas in those words that back my thesis and show an example or two in Paul himself and the Christ that base the following conclusion in sound reasoning.
Jesus Christ was minimalist.Tweet this
Jesus Christ Was Minimalist
Yes, the Gospels (the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are awash in Jesus’ sentiments on simplicity. But the very one echoed by Paul’s admonition of sufficiency with just “food and clothing” is that where “the Son of man has nowhere to lay down his head.” (Lu 9:58)
Insomnia is a new disease. Or maybe the Christ was divinely immune to it. You tell me.
Now, whereas this same Christ had nowhere to lay down his head and the basics sufficed, his “followers” today are holding multiple dinners in private jets. They’re “loving it!” Perhaps such luxury is their basic. But it doesn’t make the Christ out to be once upon a time one big suffering but silent severist that lived.
Jesus was rich in godly devotion and was content with the basic. It turns out modern science is only now proving we’ve been eating too much, drinking too much, worrying too much, owning too much, sleeping too little (too not), dying quicker because. Basic would always do. So, who’s wiser?
Paul Was Minimalist
A jet can take you places. And if you’re called to missionary? Then you need a private jet? Maybe four? Some “pastors” in Nigeria own that few. Four.
Paul could’ve used a private jet. But why didn’t he even opt for a private boat? That would’ve been most expedient, for he had several overseas lands to spread Christianity! He could’ve gone farther, done more! At the time he was the most traveled missionary.
But Paul was minimalist and would need only the ‘cloak and scroll’ that made sense to his purpose in life. (2Ti 4:13) Those quoting him today from their prettified pulpits? They couldn’t even lay any claim to Christianity had it not been for this minimalist man!
That Minimalism Is Essentially Christian!
The very character of Christianity is destroyed when its adherents are anything but spare. Minimalism to Christianity is like air to a ball. You couldn’t have the one without the other.
Minimalism to Christianity is like air to a ball.Tweet this
Indeed, there are several sentiments in the Bible that can back this thesis. And I will definitely make several more highlights on this in future. But let thus far suffice now.
Anytime you see (and do go out and see) birds floating effortlessly across the sky, or lilies (really any flower) glowing resplendent in the sun, picture a kid holding a “ball” she’d mistakenly pierced. She has nothing to play today.
Then look back in at what sort of Christian you are.
No, you’re not deflated.
You might just be overinflated, in which case, about to burst. But you cannot notice because of where your focus is, not on simple, but on “your connections to the world.”
Let’s discuss this essay on Twitter #MinimalismIsChristian