In part one, we found out what minimalism is: a focus on the aspects of life that matter most, and intentionally removing everything else. I discovered minimalism– and my life was immediately changed—while watching the documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (available on Netflix).
While I was watching the documentary for the second time with my husband Will, I noticed something interesting. The people in the film kept saying that “people are looking for meaning.” “Well, that’s true—we are all looking for meaning and purpose in our lives,” I thought.
But by saying that statement over and over, the film was implying that living a minimalist lifestyle would bring meaning to peoples’ lives. I knew that minimalism was not the answer to life’s meaning. As Christians, we derive our meaning and purpose from Jesus and his death and resurrection. I also knew that Jesus and his message were very pertinent to minimalism.
I began the journey of connecting minimalism to the Christian faith. And you know what? They go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Consider the fact that Jesus is a minimalist:
- Jesus lived a simple life, and he encourages his followers to do the same. While doing his ministry on earth, Jesus traveled a lot and didn’t take much with him. He told his disciples to live the same way when they were serving in ministry and traveling (Mark 10:10, Luke 10:4). Jesus also distilled all the laws into the two most important: love God, love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).
- Jesus taught against greed and accumulating possessions at the detriment of one’s relationship with God and others (Matthew 6:24, Luke 12:13-21).
- Jesus focused on what was most important. He encouraged his followers to do the same through sharing the Good News; ministering to others; spending time with family and friends; being generous with money, time, and skills to serve; and setting aside time for prayer.
- Jesus reminds us God is our provider—we don’t have to stockpile or worry that we won’t have what we need (Matthew 6:33, Luke 12:22-34).
Jesus tells us: “I came that [my followers] may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The life Jesus wants for us is not abundant because of an excess of stuff, time commitments, and constant striving for more money, fame, and worldly accomplishments/accolades. The life Jesus calls us to is abundant because of our focus on loving God and loving others—a life filled with love and meaning and purpose through Jesus.
We know that minimalism and the Christian faith go hand-in-hand. In part three, I will explore what Christian minimalism looks like in our everyday lives.