During the Season of Lent, our weekly devotional will feature a personal spiritual discipline for you to try engaging. This week’s discipline is Simplicity

If you’ve ever tried one of those decluttering challenges, or attempted to sort through your attic, garage, basement, or wherever it is you keep your accumulated stuff, you know simplicity is not easy, and definitely requires discipline.

And yet, if you are in anyway committed to following the example of Christ, you have probably felt the pull toward simplicity at some point in your life. Why not try it now?

There are some misconceptions about simplicity, and while I prefer to define things by what they are, it is probably important to first say what simplicity is not. Namely, it is not:

 

  • Poverty. You do not have to be a pauper to live a simple life.
  • Being a miser. Indeed, a simple life is one of generosity.
  • Minimizing expenditure. This can happen in some areas of our life as a result of simplicity, but it is not the goal.

 

What simplicity is, is a commitment to Christ which comes by detaching ourselves from wealth and material things. It is being content with enough, rather than grasping for more. It is living out Jesus’ teaching that “The one who has two cloaks should give to the one who has none.” It’s cultivating relationships with others – and with the Earth – which minimize the harmful impacts of consumerism.

Sometimes, that means spending less money. But sometimes it can mean spending more – for instance, one pair of well-made fair trade jeans may cost more than two (or three, or more) pairs made in a sweatshop overseas, but that purchase will do significantly less harm to others.

Sometimes, simplicity means giving away your possessions.

Sometimes, it means changing your diet.

Sometimes, it means changing your hobbies or your habits.

But all the time, the simple life is a life in which we love people and use things, because the opposite is just plain wrong.

What can you do this week to commit to a more simple life?