This is part 4 in a series of posts on simple living.
“How much can we safely keep? Enough to care for our basic needs and some wants, but not so much that we are distracted from our central purpose or that large amounts of money are kept from higher Kingdom causes. Not so much that we become prideful and independent (Deut. 8:13-14) or that we are insulated from our need to depend on God (Matt. 6:26-29).” ~Randy Alcorn
Our ultimate reason and purpose in simple living and frugality should be for no other reason than securing our future reward and treasure in heaven, for the glory of God, and to meet the needs of others.
God provides excess not so it can be stored up for ourselves, but so it can be distributed to the needy. Saving for difficult times is a wise thing to begin to get in the habit of doing, but if we become too consumed with saving rather than giving, we will become like the rich man in Luke 12, who filled his large barns and wanted to eat, drink and be merry in his success and retirement. These selfish reasons resulted in his early death. God saw that his motive was not to give it back to the Lord but to be able to make himself more comfortable for the rest of his life.
2 Cor. 8:14 “At this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality.” If we are generous givers when we are in a more financial stable position, than others will be quick to meet our needs if it did arise in a reverse situation.
We should live more simply – and give more generously, because….
(Original list by Randy Alcorn, in my own simplified version)
- Heaven is our home! Our life is a mere breath. We are only on earth with a short-term traveling visa and we don’t know when it will expire. Send it on ahead where eternity will matter!
- Frees us up – and allows us to surrender our possessions, time and energy to their proper center of gravity: God! If we want to find the true fulfillment and joy in life that our lives must revolve around His kingdom! “Giving -and the simpler living that results when we give – breaks us out of Money’s orbit and sets up for us a new center of gravity, in heaven.”
- We are God’s pipeline - we are instruments of God’s grace to others. We are God’s stewards – his delivery drivers – we are the Fed-Ex man that must deliver the package to the intended recipient, not open it and keep it for ourselves.
- Because the world is in spiritual dire need. Three billion people today are outside Jesus Christ. What are we doing about that?
- Because of the world’s physical dire need. “Here is the biblical patter for giving: See a need, give to meet it. Giving according to our ability means living on less than God has entrusted to us.”
Eph. 4:28, “He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.”
In conclusion, why do we pursue simple living? In order to live generous lives that extend ourselves to meet the needs of others, to welcome strangers into our home and share the Lord of Christ through hospitality, and to prepare our hearts and minds with a pilgrim mentality as heaven is our true home!
Frugality is a hot topic amongst the blogosphere, but is it maintaining its proper balance? Are we simply being frugal because we are anxious that God will not supply our needs? Or are we striving to be frugal because we want our lives to be simplified for the Master’s use, so we are not holding too tightly to His resources if he calls us to give or go? Are we aiming to be frugal so we can live only on what is necessary and give the excess back to God?
I previously stated my position on frugality, but one point I wanted to repeat here is:
Frugality is something that all woman, it seems, love! Almost to an extreme sometime. We must guard against raising the saving of every penny to a pedestal of idolatry in our lives. Personally, it became an idol in my life due to a lack of contentment in the resources I had to work with and an un-thankful spirit for the hard work my husband was doing to provide for us. I realized other areas in my life and home were lacking proper attention because I was overly focused on saving my pennies. It caused stress, worry and anxiety which did not allow for peace and joy to enter in my home, for they were running out the window! We cannot serve God and money; therefore, saving money should always come after strengthening our relationship with the Lord, serving our husbands, and families. I began asking myself: Am I causing more stress in my family by my overly focused attention on frugality? Is my household lacking peace and attention because I am fretting about money or the lack of it? Am I too focused on saving money over serving the needs and desires of my husband?
Thanks for joining me as I have told the story and reasons for our pursuit of simply living! We definitely have not figured it all out, as I still struggle with giving that additional 10% of our income away, but I am always blessed in return or when we get a note in the mail from a recipient and we rejoice that in some small way God is using us! I pray God would bless and guide you as you seek out wisdom how to invest your resources for His glory.
As you may have noticed, I frequently quoted Randy Alcorn (Money, Possessions and Eternity), so I wanted to state in conclusion how simply wonderful his book is in establishing wise guidelines for our management of money. I cannot recommend it more highly! He also has a shorter more condensed version titled, The Treasure Principle, which is also excellent.