Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I recently rediscovered Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Not Taken.” The person in the poem stands at a crossroads– does he take the path that most people have already walked, or the one that hardly anyone has walked?
It’s a question that we all have to answer at some point in our lives. Should we follow the road everyone else is walking, or do we make our own way– the way God invites us to walk?? This question is especially important for those who are wanting to incorporate Christian minimalism into their everyday lives.
The Two Roads
It’s no secret that living a more minimalist life as a Christian is counter-cultural. When we choose to live the life Jesus wants for us by focusing on the aspects of life that matter most by intentionally removing everything else, we are turning away from all of the things consumer society tells us is important: wealth, power, lots of stuff, prestige, fame, “success,” etc.
We are choosing the less traveled path.
Taking the road that is less traveled means less security, less company, less comfort. But it also means forging a life for ourselves that is true to our Christian faith and how God created us to live. This means focusing on serving God and others in Jesus’ name rather than constantly accumulating stuff, status symbols, and worldly accolades.
Why Choose the Less Traveled Path?
In God’s eyes, all that consumer culture values is meaningless.
I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself; I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees… I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines.
So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.Ecclesiastes 2:4-6, 8-11
It’s clear that chasing after all of the trappings of consumer culture’s “successful life” does not actually equal a fulfilling life. In fact, pursuing this type of lifestyle will only make us feel empty, constantly pursuing that which does not actually satisfy.
The Road Less Traveled
God is inviting us to take that less-traveled path, the path that leads to freedom and peace rather than one of constant chasing and dissatisfaction. We keep our eyes on Jesus, focusing on our relationships, self-care, spiritual growth, stewardship, vocation, and service to God and others.
[Jesus said:] “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”Matthew 7:13-14
Just because a path is well-traveled doesn’t mean it is the right path. God doesn’t always call us to what is popular. We are called to walk the path that may be more difficult sometimes– but it is the path that leads to life.
We are set free to live the abundant and intentional life that Jesus wants for us. The less-traveled path beckons to us. We can walk that less traveled road, with God’s help.
And that makes all the difference.