Living Simply as an Act of Resistance

Apr 23, 2017

Pastor Chris Markert

Living Simply

One of the original vows of the Franciscan Order is the Vow of Poverty. For those in the first and second Franciscan orders (the original friars and sisters), this meant giving up personal ownership of material possessions and wealth, sharing everything within community. For those in the third order of Franciscans, originally known as the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, this meant striving to live a life of simplicity.

In our North American context, we see a culture of excess, expediency, and individualism. We hear of “keeping up with the Joneses,” McMansions, and a never-ending thirst for more – more money, more oil, more things to acquire.

Perhaps the Franciscan way of simplicity has something to teach us in the midst of such a culture:

  • Pure holy simplicity confounds all the wisdom of this world and the wisdom of the flesh.”  -St. Francis of Assisi
  • We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing.” -St. Clare of Assisi

Even our Lutheran lens can be a witness to living a Gospel life of simplicity:

  • Ive read enough. Ive heard enough. I know enough. Would to God I lived it.” –Katie Luther to Martin Luther, after he kept exhorting her to read the Bible from cover to cover.
  • Therefore, we should be guided in all our works by this one thought alonethat we may serve and benefit others in everything that is done, having nothing before our eyes except the need and advantage of the neighbor.” – Martin Luther

Jesus himself reminds us, No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”  (Matthew 6:24 CEB)

So, as we engage in a world that is often caught up in wealth and possessions, in individual rights, and the pursuit of personal success at the expense of communal responsibility and care for our neighbor, how can choosing to live simply become an act of resistance?