“Live simply so others can simply live” -Mother Teresa
The first time I heard this quote was last year while serving in a Servant Team with Word Made Flesh Moldova. I thought that it was exclusive to that organization. However, as time went on , I found out that Mother Teresa said it, and lived it out. The words are beautiful, but they are also revolutionary.
Do you know what it would mean if everyone that claimed to be convicted by that statement lived it out? Do you know what it would mean if even just every Christian that saw that statement as an obvious expression of God’s love, lived it out?
All of us, the people alive today, are the first generation with the resources to end poverty. If we choose to really live a simple lifestyle, and not just appreciate those words, but actually live them out, and then give our extra time and money to end poverty and other world problems, the world will change. Not just a little, the world will change drastically.
Not only that, but I think that God honors our efforts to live simply. By living simply, we remove distractions from resting in Him and His love. Additionally, we are forced to rely more on His provision for us. When we don’t make our own safety net, it is easier to see that God has been there all along.
So what does it mean to live simply?
There are a lot of books written about this type of lifestyle (The Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne, Simple Spirituality, by Christopher Heuertz, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, by Ronald Sider, to name a few). All of these go into great, biblical evidence of what a godly, simply lifestyle might look like. However, I will go into a few points that I think are important when it comes to living simply
Nothing you do without God’s guidance and communion with Him will mean as much as if you do it with him. This is obvious.
~Donate your material safety nets.
~Remove luxuries, but don’t feel guilty every time you go out to eat.
~Don’t let it be in vain
Find charities that you really believe in to give your extra time and money to.
Why is it so hard to live simply?
Living simply so others can simply live is counter-cultural. Beyond being simply counter-cultural, it goes against everything that defines success, self-worth, and self-preservation within Western cultures. Also, it forces us to give up comforts that have become seemingly necessary parts of our daily routine. Millions of people live happy lives without things that I deem as necessary in my life, which shows me that they might not be all-that-important.
So, for today’s (and everyday’s) way that you can change the world: live simply so others can simply live. I have been feeling convicted about this lately, because I have not been incorporating it in my life as much as I should or have done in the past. Also, if you want to incorporate this into your lifestyle, know that it will look different for everyone. For example, I don’t need a car. However, you might live in a place without another way to get to work, so decide what you specifically are led to give up, and please share your stories here!