Tag Archives: Transformational power

Living more…with less


Many years ago I was inspired by a book called Living More With Less. It was written in 1980 by Doris Janzen Longacre before “living green” was in vogue. Her premise is that we live “more” when we live in ways that honor God’s creation, are mindful of the plight of the poor, and in keeping each other in mind. She asserts we can live more when we live with less. Her book describes practical ways to “live simply so others can simply live.” (You can get a copy here.)


I was thinking about this yesterday when reading about “income inequality” in the USA. I was reflecting on our observations in Bolivia where world poverty reports list 45% of people there living on $2 or less a day. In fact, much of the world lives on less than $1 per day. We read about it in the news – children going without food and medicine, no access to clean water, no hope for sustainable living – and yet such news is quickly shoved aside. After all, we live busy lives and what could we do about such things anyway?


We could live more simply so others could simply live.


We went on an experiment in living more simply, first by choice and later by conscription to a situation. What we found is that there is often more in less. For example, if you enjoy an income of $30,000 and you find a way to live well on $25,000 you have $5,000 more, not less than you had before. If you live on $50,000 and live on $40,000 you have $10,000 more. If you live on $100,000… well you get the picture. People think they can’t afford to tithe or give to others. They think they couldn’t possibly live on any less than what they have. But we can and maybe we should if we are really interested in Jesus’s commands to look after the needs of the poor. We all have more available to share when we live with less.


Living with less doesn’t mean living with nothing or even living less. It means living well with a clean conscience, celebrating what you have that you value most. There’s no inherent value in living a minimalist life-style as a goal in itself. But living with less can help you – and others – live more. Buying less things means having less things to store, less space to store it, less to insure, less to break, and less to worry about. Living with less not only provides more savings, but also more enjoyment of what you have, more awareness of the simple things, more of the beauty around us. Making more money doesn’t always allow us to live more. But living more with less might. Living more with less contributes less to filling the landfill and more to filling our lives with the best God really intended – for us and for others in need.


I know this sounds crazy and maybe impossible. We’re conditioned to follow the pattern of this world in always wanting more. Having more makes us happy – we think – until we tire of what we have and yearn to replace it with something better, something more. Too often more is less and less is more. By renewing our mind, there is a transformational power to live more, even with less…especially with less.


What would living more with less look like for you? Imagine how it would simplify your life and fill it with more satisfaction and meaning.

Here’s to living more – with less!


The Power of Forgiveness


The year was 1956. Jim Elliot and four other missionaries and their young wives and children traveled to the jungles of Ecuador in attempt to reach the Waodani people with the practical love of the gospel. Nothing meant more to Elliott who is quoted as saying,

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” (See Luke 9:24)


After much difficulty, the young men established a sense of trust among the Waodani. But due to a lie told in the village about the men, the trust was wrongly broken and a group of Waodani warriors went to the river and speared all five of the men who had come to help them. The Waodani had no word in their language for forgiveness. They only knew revenge and their revenge only knew death.


Put yourself in the place of the young widows whose families were torn apart by this meaningless act of violence. Act justly? What does that mean? Who would blame them if they called in the State Department to make this people pay the price for their unwarranted aggression? Love mercy and return home to try to forgive and carry on the best they could? Walk humbly before God no matter what He called them to do?


What they did was unfathomable. Could you do it, would you? I couldn’t. At least not in my own power.


But in the supernatural power that their faith in Christ gave them, they walked humbly before their God and returned to the village whose men had killed their husbands. They lived among the people and loved them with the power of forgiveness. And over time, the villagers, even the murderers, came to understand the meaning of love and forgiveness. And they changed their ways. That is the true sign of belief. It leads to a repentance that brings about real change. It doesn’t make us perfect, but it sets us on a new course.


Spending a lifetime learning how to change behaviors, I have never found a force more powerful and transformational than the forgiveness of Jesus, the light of the world. Have you?