“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” Proverbs 14:4 ESV
Confession: I am a recovering “low-maintenance” person. Before you start thinking I’ve begun ordering $8.00 lattes on a daily basis and being one of those people at restaurants, let me explain.
I used to look down on others who had lots of “stuff” or who I judged as using lots of resources. I saw it as wasteful and unnecessary. “Wow, look how much water you waste, doing several loads of laundry a day… I get by on one load* a week! Wow, you sure spend a lot of money going out to eat with friends on a regular basis… I spend $20 a month* on groceries.”
I was proud of how few possessions I had, and how little it took to maintain my life. In fact, I was so focused on using, having, and keeping as little as possible to just “get by” that I began to believe the lie that less stuff equals more holy.
But then God started to convict me that my “low-maintenance” life wasn’t really all that holy. Sure, if I don’t have an ox, I’ll never have to shovel poo or spend money to feed or care for it. But I also miss out on the fruitfulness that comes from investing in something greater than myself, or the moment.
If I only have enough bedding and dishes to maintain myself, I miss out on the opportunity for hospitality– something that I love. I may save money if I never go out to eat with friends, but then I also miss out on life-giving fellowship. I may avoid embarrassing games and potential stress if I don’t serve in the youth group, but then I also forfeit the opportunity to shape the lives of teens (and mess with their heads, which is seriously fun to do).
From the donations that come daily to Double Edge, to the mounds of post-party dishes in the house, to the money it takes to bless a friend with ice cream, I am beginning to see that “clean and simple” isn’t really the life I want. Instead of having a “low-maintenance” life, I’d rather have an abundant life.
*Amount changed to exaggerate my ridiculous judgments