In this post I'm going to take a small break away from the Grace Habit series to launch into a different habit - one that supports a daily sense of clarity and freedom - one that can leave you feeling unfettered - unhindered from inner distraction. I'll let you in on a little secret though - while it may sound like it's wildly different from the Grace Habit - to my way of thinking - it's totally related.
Simplicity, minimalism, asceticism, essentialism ... all different roots - but come to the same meaning: The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing. As a Christian I cannot help but note that by the end of His life, Jesus had reduced the sum total of his worldly possessions to a honking ol list of one: what He wore.
I mean, oh sure, we can presume He had some sandals - but they aren't really mentioned - so maybe He did - maybe He didn't. Even if He did - then his stuff just doubled - and is now up to two - unless you're a stickler and want to count Jesus' footwear by the single unit - instead of by the pair. Still - He doesn't even need a sling bag. And if He did have a bag - would it look like this? I mean - this is the stuff Christians wanna know!
There is also a whole load of mythic conversation that spans millennia about HIs tupperware line: the Cup of Christ. While it seems unlikely that Jesus offered the Passover benedictions during the last supper while cupping wine in His hands - the Bible really doesn't say anything about His tupperware either. I'd post a picture of what it might have looked like - but I watched at least some of the right movies growing up - so I know ... I know.
So - there we are - back where we started: What Jesus owned - was His robe - and whether if solely because it was seemless, or because of His fandom - it was a hot-enough item to have been immediately auctioned off ... well ... gambled really. (Matthew 27:35). And yes ... they could've gambled for other articles of clothing too ... His "sash" - because, you know, every picture of Him ever shows one ... but ... or His hoodie ... but the robe is all we know about for sure.
All of that is beside the point. Jesus was startlingly free of stuff. His cousin, John the baptist was also free of stuff - no one even wanted his camel hair ensemble. Sad.
Yet - if you asked almost anyone "how can I be more like Christ?" - many would add something to what you have now. This despite the fact that when a rich dude asked Jesus this very question - Jesus told Him to get rid of everything. (Luke 18:18) I'm not saying that you have to do that - I'm just saying - when Jesus was asked by a rich person how to "inherit eternal life" Jesus starts talking in a way that reminds me very much of a discipleship conversation. Most of us would tell this guy ... a lot of things ... few of us would tell anyone - least of all ourselves (and I kind of think that's the real test) to get rid of not the junky stuff he owned, not the extra stuff ... Jesus told this guy to get rid of EVERYTHING.
This is one of those verses that rattles around and around in my head - so I'm trying to live by it. So - I own less and less all the time. Though I am a woman and my culture says I need an entire walk in closet of cosmetics, clothes, shoes, and accessories - I own a few basic outfits, a winter and summer shoes, and zero cosmetics. Though I own a home - I am continually pairing down what I have in it to make more room for those I share my home with. In fact - as a part of Lent - I'm getting rid of quite a lot. The first day of Lent, March 1st - I got rid of one thing. March 2nd - I got rid of two more, today I got rid of 10 things; actually a little more. This isn't about waste - I'm moving these items along to those who can make use of them - so they can have a second life. By my calculation - by Resurrection Sunday - I'll get rid of 56 things because that will be 56 days since March 1st. There are many who have far less and have gotten rid of much more ... that's all beside the point.
The point is simply that materialism and faith don't support one another. I'm not saying that they're mutually exclusive. I am saying they can sometimes exclude one another. And - I'm saying that if you want to grow in your faith, or if you've been stuck in your walk, or if you're unsure of what you really want ... your stuff might be literally - cluttering up your ability to sort these questions out. Personally - every time I remove another box of stuff from my home - I feel more focused, clearer, and more energetic. There's plenty said about simplicity in books like "Freedom of Simplicity" by Richard Foster (author of "The Celebration of Discipline), or you can go check out "The Minimalists".