Happy Monday, everyone! I hope your weekend was as relaxing as a weekend is supposed to be.
Did you make anything that you normally buy? I didn’t try anything new this week, but I did make a batch of corn tortillas; we had some friends over for dinner Thursday night, so I made tacos with fresh tortillas. Definitely gave my tortilla press a workout, making 40-ish tortillas!
Today I want to talk about another thing that simplicity is not.
Simplicity is not getting rid of all your stuff. That’s minimalism, which has its own benefits, but I’m not going to go into that too much today. Unless my thoughts lead there as I type… we shall see.
Here’s the thing about possessions. If you use it regularly, it’s not superfluous. If you’re willing and able to get rid of it at a moment’s notice, for whatever reason, it’s reasonable to have. If it has a home in your house that you’re happy with, then keep it. Get my drift?
But. You knew there was going to be a “but,” didn’t you?
But. If you don’t use it, wear it, read it, or have a good place to keep it, then you have to do some thinking and searching within yourself to decide if it’s really worth keeping. I still struggle with the “what ifs,” and I like to think I’m pretty go with the flow regarding our possessions by now. We have two deep-dish casserole dishes, for example. Could I get by with one? Probably. But (there’s that word again…) I do occasionally use both, particularly on church potluck days. It’s nice to have both in case I’m cooking for a large group. And they both have a home in my cabinet, and are not (usually) in the way. So I keep them.
Along with simplicity not being the same as getting rid of your stuff, it also is not against the idea of purchasing new items. For example, I got an Amazon gift card for Christmas, and I could have used it to buy a Kindle book or an Amazon digital video (something that wouldn’t take up real estate in our home), but I chose to get a tortilla press. I’ve just been rolling our tortillas out by hand until now. The tortilla press has given me the ability to make fresh tortillas more often, which is a win in my book. There’s nothing bad in a homemade tortilla (well, a corn one anyway; flour ones need some sort of fat to taste good). So the more we can have this delicious delicacy, the better we are in my book. Before you make a purchase, though, you want to make sure that the item you’re buying fits in your values, whatever they may be (yes, I know they probably aren’t exactly the same as mine, and that’s okay).
For my final thoughts on this subject, I want to explore Scripture’s take on minimalism.
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
~Matthew 10: 5-15, ESV~
Did you catch what Jesus sent them out with? Nothing. The disciples weren’t supposed to take a bag of belongings. They weren’t supposed to accept wages for their work while they were out preaching the gospel. They weren’t even supposed have an extra tunic or pair of shoes! They were promised food. That’s it.
This week’s challenge: Think through each purchase you make (at least one or two of them). If you don’t know whether or not you’ll use the item, or if you can’t think of where you’ll put it once you get it home, don’t buy it. You can always go back for it once you’ve answered those questions.