Many Christians view the accumulation of material possessions as a sign of God’s favor. However, lots of Bible passages urge greater simplicity.
For decades, most of U.S. society has been caught up in a delirious rush to have more and bigger and better. A house that was plenty big in the 1950s was rejected in favor of something twice as big. Personal homes of 10,000 square feet are increasingly seen as the ideal to aim for.
In the Christian realm, many Christians view the accumulation of material posessions as a sign of God’s favor.
The notion of simplicity is so far from their worldview that they might reject it as anti-Christian.
At least some of our preachers have wholeheartedly embraced the notion of bigger-is-better and prosperity-equals-divine-favor.
However, there are solid Bible passages that urge greater simplicity.
In this article, we want to give a few of those passages a chance to be heard.
During the days of his public ministry, Jesus himself was almost certainly homeless:
Matthew 8:20. Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
Jesus the Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head. He was almost certainly homeless.
1 Timothy 6:8. But having food and clothing, we will be content with that.
Could you be content with nothing more than food and clothing?
Having said that, there were times where Paul had plenty. He did not reject abundance. But neither did he cling to it.
Philippians 4:12. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. (NASB translation)
Perhaps God has called us to abundance. If so, we are in line with some kings and wealthy Christians of history.
Has God called us to scarcity? If so, we are in line with the many poor people who were favored with the reign of God. Neither is superior to the other.
The real issue is what sort of life God has called us to live. Perhaps we are blessed with material abundance. Or perhaps we are blessed with abject poverty. Neither is superior to the other. Neither denotes a greater blessing from God than the other.
Looking at the long history of the Christian faith, we do not see a mandate that every believer must live simply.
Individual Christians have spanned the entire economic spectra, from homeless beggars to billionaires. Some of our leaders lived in caves; others in opulent castles.
Even the most austure monks did not see austerity as mandatory for the Christian life.
Some people are quite comfortable with vast luxury and abundance. Others find luxury and abundance to be a prison that steals their joy.
What optimizes your joy? More, or less?
Would you be willing to try simplifying to see if it works for you?
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.