Monday, April 9, 2012

Living In a Land of Excess

I have a friend who is a missionary in Mozambique.  We went to high school together.  When I was in high school, I wanted to be a long term missionary, too, but God had a different plan for my life.  While in high school, I did go on three short term mission trips to Honduras, one to Mexico, and spent a summer doing mission work in Detroit.  I always came back determined to live a simpler life.

Today I read my missionary friend's blog update and it included a picture of his son's birthday celebration. In the background you see the kitchen (extremely bare bones--no fridge, microwave, dishwasher, cupboards--you know, the things that we are used to here in the United States).  I think to myself, it sure would be nice to have a bare bones kitchen without all the excess clutter.  For my friend, there is no CHOICE.  In another post the wife shares what they eat--mostly fruits, vegetables, rice, pasta, and eggs.  Here I sit thinking how I'd like to lose weight, how I should eat a healthier diet (pretty much what my friend is eating), but I have a CHOICE to eat like my friend, it's not necessity.

I have occasionally forgotten the conviction to simple living since my missionary travels.  Then I will read a blog update on my missionary friend that will touch my heart and rekindle my desire for simplicity.  Or I will see a picture.  Read a book.  Watch a movie.  They all tug at my heart strings, begging me to live simpler so that I have the resources to help those who truly have great need.

In a land of plenty, it is a challenge to live simply.  I am surrounded by excess, bombarded with messages that say "buy this" or "your life is not complete without this."  Choosing to live simply is a real choice that has to be made daily, hourly, by the minute.  It's a constant battle to only buy what I truly need when I am in the grocery store.  To not buy that package of meat because it's more than I want to spend, to put back that shiny toy on sale that we don't need.  But I have a CHOICE.  There are millions of people who do not.

At this point in my life it is very doubtful that I will ever be a full time missionary in a third world country (I won't say it's completely out of the question, but it pretty much is).  Yet that doesn't exclude me from the call to live a simple life so that my excess can be shared with others.  Yes, couponing, deal-seeking, and simplifying are fun activities for me, but they're just a hobby if there isn't a purpose behind them--to help others.  In Matthew 6:20, God calls us to "store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy, and where thieves do not break in a steal."  

1 comment:

  1. I agree. It's not simplicity for the sake of simplicity. It's so you can be generous with others. But not just with money. Living more simply can also free up time so you have more to give away. Sometimes I reflect on what Rosie G. said after her house fire that forced her family to basically start over. They have less clutter and excess now and she has so much more time to give away!