Maybe Get By With Less

John the baptizer was quite the interesting character in the Jesus story. A wild man. Dressed simply, yet unconventionally. Ate a simple diet. Preached a simple and direct message. Turn your lives around. Stop living like you were. Start living in God’s spirit. And, oh by the way, someone is coming right after me who will be greater than I.

A couple of hundred years later, the Desert Fathers took his example to the extreme, just as some humans do, and fled the cities to desert monasteries. They live simple lives with simple diets with few possessions. They focused their entire lives on God. Remnants of that tradition live on.

Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer has said, “If there is no element of asceticism in our lives, if we give free rein to the desires of the flesh…we shall find it hard to train for the service of Christ.”

We don’t have to mimic John and the Desert Fathers. Bringing something of their spirit of simplicity and focus would not hurt us any. Simplifying our diets would be healthier, if nothing else. Fewer possessions makes life easier.

Most important is the attention and intention of turning our lives from pursuit of more stuff to pursuit of more Spirit.

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