Through a random set of circumstances God has brought me back to the Biblical concept of living simply so that I may be generous with my brothers and sisters around the world who are in need. The abundance of food, clothing, material blessings in our middle income lifestyle have been a great blessing from God for our family. We have never gone without our needs being met for any length of time. God has always abundantly provided for us.
And that is the problem. We view his provision as for us.
I am driving a vehicle that we purchased new from a dealership. It now is 14 years old and has over 210,000 miles on it. It has served us (and God’s kingdom) well but is nearing the end of its usefulness. We will need to replace this vehicle soon. We have been good stewards of what God has given us in the past and will do the same as we go forward. Yet we need to decide what type of vehicle God would like us to have for the good works that He has planned for us to accomplish for His glory. We need to decide how much money we will spend and how much debt we should take on (if any).
Think of how the discussion would change if your family’s discussion of a new car took place in the presence of a Christian family from rural Brazil who not only had never possessed a car but were surrounded by poverty, malnutrition and starvation! ~ Alan Nichols, Lausanne Occasional Paper 20 An Evangelical Commitment to Simple Life-style
This very real to me as I have beloved brothers and sisters in such situations who are working for God’s kingdom in the midst of great lack. I lean toward getting by with the least amount of cost, but that isn’t always in line with God’s will.
At the same time, our church just started the process of hiring a consulting firm to expand our church building. The same set of questions, with a much bigger number are posed in this situation.
It is a heart attitude and God purposed path of discovery that is walked by faith and not by sight, by humility and submission and not pride and personal desire. To come to the place of being in God’s will on such matters requires prayer, discernment, knowledge of God and His word, and in the end, a strong faith believing that God is good and His ways are best. We are most effective for His kingdom when we are completely submitted to His Lordship in every area of our lives including lifestyle.
My family and I and even many in my church family have made what would outwardly appear to be small changes in our lifestyle to move toward simplicity and to free up finances and resources for God’s purposes rather than our own selfishness. Outwardly it may look to be a small thing, but inwardly God is moving mountains of greed, pride, lust, selfishness, and even fear. We have many areas of our lives that need more refining, but we are on the right path. We are seeking God’s will. We are laying aside “nice to haves” for the privilege of giving away. That in itself is a great gift!
In a spiritual sense, God is changing hearts and renewing minds. He is making us more like Jesus one step at a time. I trust God. I trust His ways. What seems to be impossible for man is completely possible for Him. I know He hears our prayers and blesses our attempts at obedience. I know that He wants us to enjoy the blessings that He gives to us and at the same time I know that He desires that we have a heart which will easily give away everything for the sake of His kingdom. He wants us to be generous to those in need, to be compassionate, to share with them the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I encourage you today to read this paper. Allow God’s word to penetrate your heart. Is there something in your lifestyle that God is calling you to change so that you can be helping those in need? Is your lifestyle preventing you from being a generous person?
God’s good gifts are not just for us…but they are for us to get to be a blessing to others in the name of Jesus! Be encouraged today that we do not need to live according to this world’s standards. Make one small change today, another next week. Keep pressing in toward God and He will renew your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. Press on beloved. Press on.
“While some of us have been called to live among the poor, and others to open our homes to the needy, all of us are determined to develop a simpler life-style. We intend to reexamine our income and expenditure, in order to manage on less and give away more. We lay down no rules or regulations, for either ourselves or others. Yet we resolve to renounce waste and oppose extravagance in personal living, clothing and housing, travel and church buildings. We also accept the distinction between necessities and luxuries, creative hobbies and empty status symbols, modesty and vanity, occasional celebrations and normal routine, and between the service of God and slavery to fashion. Where to draw the line requires conscientious thought and decision by us, together with members of our family. Those of us who belong to the West need the help of our Third World brothers and sisters in evaluating our standards of spending. Those of us who live in the Third World acknowledge that we too are exposed to the temptation to covetousness. So we need each other’s understanding, encouragement and prayers.” LOP 20