“Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” - Jesus (Matthew 6:33-34)
We live in a consumption society.

So many things compete for our attention, and it often results in a general feeling of constantly juggling ambitions, and motivations. But to apprentice under Jesus is actually a more simple way. Simple, not easy. Author John Mark Comer has pointed out that “…in Jesus’ day, your goal was to become the carbon copy of your rabbi…So first be with your rabbi, second become like your rabbi, and [then] your third goal was to do what he did.” The invitation of the Kingdom of Heaven is to not live life with some antithetical ideology where we say “yes” to Jesus’ lordship and try to keep a tight rein as ‘lord’ over the different aspects of our life. Rather, it's to give full rule and reign over to God.

Richard Foster wrote in his book, Celebration of Discipline,
“The Christian Discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward lifestyle. Both the inward and the outward aspects of simplicity are essential. We deceive ourselves if we believe we can possess the inward reality without it having a profound effect on how we live. To attempt to arrange an outward lifestyle of simplicity without the inward reality leads to deadly legalism.”

So, why do we say all of this when we’re talking about simplicity? Because as we look at the way of Jesus, He addressed this very topic. He said in Matthew 6:19-34:
“Don’t store treasures for yourselves here on earth where moths and rust will destroy them and thieves can break in and steal them. But store your treasures in heaven where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will be where your treasure is.
“The eye is a light for the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. And if the only light you have is really darkness, then you have the worst darkness.
“No one can serve two masters. The person will hate one master and love the other, or will follow one master and refuse to follow the other. You cannot serve both God and worldly riches.

“So I tell you, don’t worry about the food or drink you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. And you know that you are worth much more than the birds. You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it.
“And why do you worry about clothes? Look at how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that even Solomon with his riches was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers. God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today but tomorrow is thrown into the fire. So you can be even more sure that God will clothe you. Don’t have so little faith! Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt. 6:19-34, NCV)
Silence, solitude, and prayer help us to cultivate simplicity in our lives because they are ways that we can learn to surrender to, and seek, the Kingdom of God (Heaven) - unto experiencing the way of Jesus as the central thing for us. So, the invitation then is to rethink how we live in light of God’s Kingdom. What does that mean for our spending and consumption habits? For our relationships?
As we start to ask these questions, there are many examples of how to walk this out. One example is this practical list regarding simplicity borrowed from Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline:
  • Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
  • Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
  • Develop a habit of giving things away.
  • Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
  • Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
  • Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation. [outdoors]
  • Look with a healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes.
  • Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others.
  • Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the Kingdom of God (Foster, pg 90-95).

Day Seminar with Joshua Becker

On March 7th, 2020, Vineyard Gilbert hosted its first Removing Obstacles to Loving Well half-day seminar, where we looked at the topic of our "relationship to stuff," with speaker: Joshua Becker. Here Joshua shares his journey with minimalism, and how it has been a part of how Jesus has been shaping him.

Recommended Resources

Celebration of Discipline

"Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster has been considered a Christian classic by many. In it, he explores the "classic Disciplines," or central spiritual practices, of the Christian faith.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

"The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry" by John Mark Comer is a wonderful primer on the importance of practicing the way of Jesus in our current cultural climate. He includes fresh ideas on how to apply the practice of simplicity and minimalism

Abundant Simplicity

In "Abundant Simplicity," author Jan Johnson invites you to consider which activities give you energy and connect you with God, and which behaviors are life-draining for you - separating you from God. Simplicity is about choosing the engaging, relational life we were meant to live. 

The Minimalist Home

"The Minimalist Home" by Joshua Becker is a super-practical guide on rethinking our approach to material possessions, and declutter and refocus our life and living spaces.