The Challenge to Live Simply

March 6, 2017

Simplicity: something we don’t often consider in the affluent, bustling culture that is the West.

Scott and Lee, field team members in Africa, spent the last several months back in the U.S. seeing their youngest child get married, caring for family members, and getting some R&R. I was curious to know what goes into making those transitions between continents, especially since they’ve been doing it for 25 years now. I found out the thing that is most challenging for them is the packing. And unpacking. And repacking again. “As time has gone on, that’s been the least favorite thing to do.”

However, over the years Scott & Lee have learned something: fewer things = less packing! Scott shares, “… with every move and every transition we’ve had, we’ve really simplified our stuff. That’s made it a lot easier.”

Lee had a different perspective on clothing. “The things that I need in this country compared to Africa are so different- - just the shoes alone! In Africa, I have 2 pairs of sandals that I wear 12 months out of the year. I have 7-10 dresses. I don’t need makeup or much jewelry.”

Lee continues, “It’s funny how easy it is to accumulate stuff here. What do I really need? Really, simple living is so much better. It’s just carefree.”

Following Jesus where He has led them in cross-cultural living, Scott and Lee have discovered the joys of a simplified life. They do not suggest everyone in the West do what they have done. However, I was personally challenged by their lifestyle. On the surface it is chosen out of convenience, but the reason they are on the move so much is due to death to self-- to their own cultural preferences in order to pour themselves out for a culture that does not have the light of Christ. And they’ve found that a simple life is “so much better.”

Few Westerners move often enough to have to sift through their possessions as often as Scott and Lee have. For us, simplifying our possessions would be an intentional act and a commitment to live minimally in order to give more generously of time and treasure.

Is there a lesson here for believers in the West today? What effect could our simpler lives have on making Christ known to others?

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