I’ve been reading through 1 & 2 Timothy lately, and there have been a few parts of it I’ve kept coming back to. One of those is from 1 Timothy 6:
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
-1 Timothy 6:6-8 (ESV)
One year ago, I was challenged to pursue a minimalism lifestyle after hearing Joshua Becker speak about it. Knowing that it has been one year, I wondered if it had made a difference in me?
Well, financially, it made a difference. I think every month we paid less, than the previous year, when it came to our various utility bills. We changed insurance companies and are saving $1,000 over the course of a year.*
*Thank you, Noah Yost!
Jana and I took countless boxes, and bags, of books, dvds, clothes and more to Half Price Books and Goodwill that had been cluttering up our cellar. We gave stuff away to friends, neighbors and strangers. We made due with things when it would have been easy to not. For instance, we didn’t get a newer car or fix the air conditioner in our current car. I shave my head so I don’t have to pay for a haircut. I try to steer clear from fast food and junk food. We set limits on what we spend on the boys.
It’s been beneficial because we’ve had expenses this past year, like with the birth of Gideon. Beyond that, does any of it make a difference? Yes, I feel better. I don’t feel superior to anyone, I feel freer. I became more content.
Stuff isn’t bad, but stuff can be a waste. Why hold on to stuff that’s just gathering dust and weighing you down? I can’t take it with me once I die, so why not do something with it now?
I think back on the money and time I have wasted. The activities that were time fillers. The things to have because they were cool or added to my status. The activities and things themselves weren’t bad, but it was a waste. What am I doing now with that time and stuff I used up? As the axiom goes, “The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you.”
Gavin Johnson put it well in his recent message, “Invest your life, don’t spend it.”
This isn’t to say that you can’t waste time, or you can’t go out and spend some money on some incidental thing. It’s not about being a legalist with minimalism.* Big picture, though, what are you and I doing with our time, treasure and talents?
*It was interesting, once I started telling people about my desire to pursue this lifestyle there were some people who were intent on pointing out everything I spent money on and how in their opinion it wasn’t a part of the minimalism lifestyle. I was surprised by who was criticizing and why they felt the need to do so.
What’s important? What’s priority? You can say one thing, but what does your schedule say is important to you?* What does your bank statement say is important to you? What do your activities say is important to you?
*Another factor in why I recently hit reset with my schedule.
We didn’t bring anything into this world, and we aren’t going to take anything with you. Don’t spend your life, invest it. Invest in a non-profit, a charity, or someone who is in need. Invest in a friend or a coworker. Invest into your family.
As I get older, I realize the limited time I have. What am I doing with that time? Am I just filling time so I can stay busy and/or numb? I don’t want to do that. I would hope you wouldn’t want to do that either.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
-Matthew 13:45-46 (ESV)
Invest your life.