Jesus and Minimalism



I’ve been thinking a lot about minimalism lately and how it ties into my faith. In many ways, I feel that it connects quite well with the beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount. Stuck in there, right along with  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God” and “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” I can imagine Jesus saying “ Blessed are those with less, for they shall have much, much more.”

Jesus was, I think, an early adopter of the minimalist movement. I can’t imagine that he schlepped* a lot of stuff along with him as he walked from town to town on hot, dusty dry roads.

Jesus even gave his disciples instructions to travel minimally, sending the twelve out with these words “Don’t take money in your money belts – no gold, silver or even copper coins. Don’t carry a travelers bag with a change of clothes or sandals or even a walking stick…” (Matthew 10:9-10 NIV)

I think this is great food for thought. As a follower of Jesus, I seek to embrace that, to travel lightly. Not just when I travel geographically (which I could probably do with a bit less stuff!) but also as I travel through life. I’m constantly asking myself “ Do I really need this?” And “What can I get rid of?” And embarrassingly, I often find that I still have more than I need or sometimes more than I can use.

I’ve discovered that when I have less stuff around me, my mind feels more at ease. I’m less concerned with achieving and doing and acquiring things, and more open to being in the moment, enjoying my surroundings and delighting in those that are with me.

Just as an experiment, I encourage you to get rid of something this week that you are schlepping along in life. It could be a physical object that has been sitting in your basement for ages that you’ve been meaning to donate. It could be a habit that you are trying to kick, or a thought pattern you want to change. I think you’ll find that letting go of this one thing will be life-giving and perhaps you’ll find yourself embracing minimalism one day as well!


* Schlep (verb) –to move something with difficulty.