Wednesday, March 18, 2009

HOW TO LIVE SIMPLY AND LOVE EXTRAVAGANTLY

A month or so ago, I read a book review by Seth Barnes, founder of Adventures in Missions. The description and quotes really connected with me. So when my birthday rolled around a couple of weeks ago and my husband gave me a gift card, I knew right away how I'd spend part of it. So yesterday my oldest daughter picked it up and now it is waiting for me to delve into. I've read the introduction and skimmed through a few sections and it looks to be as good as Seth's review promised it to be.

I thought some of you might also be interested in reading SMALL FOOTPRINT, BIG HANDPRINT and I'll let Seth tell you why:


Here's a book that will give you some practical steps to become more radical in your faith: Small Footprint, Big Handprint: How to live simply and love extravagantly by Tri Robinson, pastor of Vineyard Boise Church (a 3000 member church in Boise, Idaho).

Robinson's thesis is that "Most Americans have too much stuff; stuff that often weighs them down and ultimately keeps them from a more simplified, freeing life." He illustrates by relating how his own life got out of control. Everything was on the top shelf of his life's priorities. It was too complex, too busy and too out-of-control. "I realized that the great things that truly gave me joy and the things I deeply desired to invest my life in were being pushed aside for dozens of merely good things."

He defines simple living as "a lifestyle that allows us to focus on the things that are most important to us, such as relationships both inside and outside of our families, without being encumbered by an inordinate amount of responsibilities that demand our attention."

The book dives into some of my favorite themes - the link between spiritual adventure and simplicity, contenting that an adventure with God begins with simplicity. It makes the point that "You can't embark on a treacherous hike with 200 pounds of gear strapped to your back...."

So, radical faith is best expressed when we're living simply, unencumbered by the things of this world.

Robinson links the excess in our lifestyles to a casual faith that renders us ineffective. "Now more than ever," he says, "people who profess to be followers of Jesus must resist casual Christianity in lieu of coming to the aid of a world in decline. Everywhere we look, there are images of a suffering humanity just begging for the practical demonstrations of the Gospel."

One simple test of our propensity to excess is to ask, "What do I struggle to let go of?" We are what we can't let go of. One of the greatest tragedies in humanity is for a person to come to the end of his or her life and realize that it was misspent.

Robinson challenges us to look at the snapshot of our life comprised of our time, energy, and money. And then ask ourselves, "What needs to change?"

The bottom line of a life lived well is that your life reflects uniqueness in Christ rather than just blending in with everyone else. Robinson's challenges you to ask yourself, "Do my time, energy, and money reflect my passion and commitment to Christ?"


To read more of Seth Barnes' writings, visit his blog: http://www.sethbarnes.com/

2 comments:

Jason said...

Elysa,

You might want to add this video of Tri talking about the idea behind the book ... http://vimeo.com/2816172

Elysa said...

Thank you so much, Jason. I'll go and watch it and then probably use it when I do a follow-up once I've actually read the book. Great suggestion!