Christian Minimalism

Why Christian Minimalism?

(If you haven’t already read Why Minimalism?, you can find that here.)

When I first discovered minimalism, it was like someone had flipped on a light switch in my soul. It just made sense to me to focus on the important aspects in life that mattered most, and to get rid of and remove everything else. In fact, it embodied for me exactly what Jesus said: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Living an abundant, or full, life is what Jesus wants for us. And that full life includes spending our time and energy and resources on that which matters most. It means removing anything that keeps us from living that full life that Jesus came to give us.

The Bible verse that most informs my minimalist lifestyle is Luke 12:34–“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Whatever is our treasure, whatever we focus on as most important, is where our heart is. Another way to read it is from The Message (a Bible paraphrase) of that verse: “The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” Our desires and where we spend our time, our resources, and our energy will be with what we consider our treasure. Minimalism helps us to be intentional about what our treasure is, and where our heart is.

*(Bonus points if you read the whole passage, Luke 12:22-34, and extra bonus points if you read Jesus’ parable about the rich man before that in Luke 12:13-21!)*

The Christian faith and minimalism go hand-in-hand. Jesus lived a simple, minimalist lifestyle. He didn’t own many possessions. He spent much of his time with family and friends. He spent most of his time traveling to help others by teaching, healing, and casting out demons.  And he spent a lot of time with his heavenly Father in prayer.

In fact, Jesus summed up all of what we are supposed to do in life: “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Love God with your whole being. Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. Sounds like a Christian minimalist lifestyle to me!

Jesus also talked a lot about money. In fact, it’s one of the things he talked about the most. How we spend our money, and how we use it, matters to Jesus. The message we get from society is to buy, buy, buy. As Christians, we are called to be counter-cultural and strive to be minimalists in a consumer society—because we know that our life’s meaning is not wrapped up in material things. It is through Jesus Christ, and what he did for us by dying on the cross and his resurrection, that our lives have meaning. Minimalism helps cut through the clutter and the busy-ness to refocus us on our Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit– and the aspects of life that truly matter.