One Lent during college, as a way to practice simplicity I decided to fast from buying anything that was non-essential. I wanted to learn to strive for God’s Kingdom instead of storing up for myself temporary treasures on earth. I would only eat from my campus cafeteria, utilizing my pre-paid meal plan, instead of going out for fast food. I wouldn’t purchase clothes or music or books. I declined to go out to the movies with my friends, and instead stayed in and watched TV in my dorm room. I couldn’t even buy a candy bar unless someone else offered it to me. Practicing simplicity was hard!
But that year I learned a few lessons about what it means to simplify our lives and about where we place our hearts: First, there’s quite a few things in life we don’t actually need; we can get by with much less stuff. Second, when we are spending our money more intentionally, we are able to be more generous with our financial resources. Third, when we are wasting less of our money, we are actually wasting less of our time too. Instead of shopping or going out to eat, I had more time to study, hang out with my friends in the school cafeteria, or get involved in my church—activities that were all free!
Even though my simplification experiment was short-lived and ended on Easter, for that time I was able to more fully understand what Jesus meant when he called us to set aside our worries and strive for His Kingdom here on earth.