Me and the Rich Young Ruler

Minimalism is in my bones. I’m drawn to stark desert landscapes and uncluttered spaces. I subscribe to Small Notebook where Rachel has great tips on living simply, and I just discovered the Minimalist Mom. Everything I read about simplifying and downsizing resonates with me.

I don’t know if it’s the economy or the precarious state of world affairs, but it seems everyone is talking about downsizing. The idea appeals to my natural bent, so I’m more than ready to jump on the bandwagon.

Besides, minimalism seems spiritual. Monks have vows of poverty. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor. You can’t love God and money, you shouldn’t store up treasures on earth, and it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.

I’ll always get a reverent nod of approval if I say I’m selling it all for the sake of Christ. At the very least, I’ll have one up on the rich young ruler. But if I say I’m buying a bigger house for the sake of Christ, I’m sure to get doubtful looks.

I get that. Our hearts are deceitfully wicked. It’s easy to think we’re doing something for God when we’re really doing it for ourselves.  God knows, his name is used to rationalize all kinds of behavior, including fiscal irresponsibility.

But does this mean God never calls us to more, rather than less?

What about abundant life? I don’t for one moment believe that it refers to material possessions, but neither do I believe it necessarily excludes them.

In a strange twist of logic, it’s actually easier for me think it’s God when I feel compelled to give up something. Why is it so hard for me to believe God wants to bless me with a resort vacation or a bigger house? Why is it easier for me to embrace a call to deprivation rather than plenty?

I see the Father’s heart towards the poor. Maybe I just have a harder time seeing he has the same heart towards me.

Maybe it seems unjust that I should enjoy abundance when others don’t have enough. But God is a God of justice, and it isn’t my job to balance the scales.

With God it’s never a zero sum game.

God isn’t calling me to solve the world’s problems. He’s just asking me to do what he says and trust him with the rest. In God’s economy obedience trumps sacrifice.

It’s easy to judge others for either not having enough faith or for being so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good.  “Radical” faith looks different for different people in different seasons. With God it’s never one size fits all.

Radical faith doesn’t mean you check your brains at the door. It doesn’t mean you ignore financial principles and spend money you don’t have. Radical faith means you obey God no matter what. And sometimes that means spending money you don’t have, but he has.

When your friends are downsizing, stuffing hard earned dollars into Dave Ramsey envelopes, looking for Financial Peace, it’s hard to explain God saying upsize and spend.

But financial peace isn’t about money in envelopes, under the mattress, or in my 401k. Financial peace is just part of the peace that comes from a life surrendered. Whatever that looks like at the moment.

Where are you in the downsizing movement? Do you think God ever calls us to have more rather than less? Which is easier to obey?

Starting this week, we’re hosting Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in our home. Have you taken his class? What do you think about it?

Linking up with Women Living Well.  Join us!

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