Live Simply


Live Simply That Others May Simply Live...

A more ancient and noble expression are the inspired words of the Lord, "Love your neighbor as yourself".  This is a very difficult thing to do.  Love never fails.  Love vanishes at the point you fail to give of yourself.  This love, if understood correctly will cost you your life:  that is, all of your selfish ambitions.  The apostle Paul testified, " I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me." He who is governed by the law of love considers everything he/she does and does not do:  how you dress, spend your time, use your money,  care for the poor, treat strangers and enemies, effect the environment; in brief, your entire life revolves around this second greatest command, the first being, "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."  [Mark 12:29-31]

Things We've Figured Out...
(FOOD COST) 

In the United States food waste is enormous.  We have learned how to reduce food cost by primarily eating recycled food.  Some of us have special dietary needs and we use wisdom in those purchases. 

I researched a few websites and their monthly food cost totals for the average American family (2.5 people according to one website) were:  $550, $604, and $870.  The average of these three amounted to $674.66 each month; that is $8,095.92 annually.  At that rate, the average American (assuming food prices remain the same) after ten years would have spent $80, 959.20 on food.  

Depending on where we are in the States, a rough estimate of our monthly food cost (including clean water) is less than eighty dollars a month for three of us, and often a fourth and many others we feed in the same month.  $80 per month is $960 a year; in ten years that would amount to $9,600.  When compared to the average American family of 2.5 people, we, being three and often more, save $594.66 per month, $7,135.92 a year, for an outstanding savings of $71,359.92 over a ten year period, "If we live and the Lord wills".  This means we are able to spend less time working to buy food, and increase our funding of Kingdom work by $7,135.92 a year when compared to the average American family. The comparisons on this page are not for personal security or to puff us or anyone else up.  These statistics are simply to put some numbers out there in order to explain what could be saved for God's work, not to "compare ourselves among ourselves" or with anyone else.  All of us need to take seriously the teachings of Yeshua on money, self indulgence, waste, etc.  looking to Him Who emptied Himself and laid aside more than we ever could.  God, in real human flesh capable of temptations and suffering, humbled Himself, and taught us how to be holy and kind, and to bear our crosses.  

This comparison is not to shame the "Average American Family" who purchases what they need, rather this information I have published so that others who are interested in maximizing their kingdom resources can be made aware, and contact us if desired; also, if others upon reading this are frugal, and know of how we could improve, we are interested in being contacted concerning those improvements.  


(NONFOOD COST)

One of the most obvious expenses we eliminated to advance kingdom work was nonfood cost.  What is meant by nonfood cost? A nonfood is something that is (for the most part) universally understood to be unprofitable for the body, a useless dainty, needless dessert, etc.  Here are some examples:  Skittles candy, Reese's peanut butter cups, Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, various colas and sodas.

Still confused by nonfood cost?  Would you ever tell your child at breakfast, lunch, or dinner to make sure they eat all of the candy, and then they may eat their oatmeal, eggs, chicken, or potatoes?  We know that would be absurd.  But what makes it absurd?  Because candy is what we have identified as a nonfood, or nonessential, or useless dainty.  We want to make sure our children get the food they need!

The Global Food Crisis:  The world has identified that sending candy, cola, and other useless dainties and treats to those suffering from malnutrition around the world is irrational and ultimately will not help those suffering. Instead they send beans, rice, potatoes, and other somewhat nonperishable and useful foods.  

According to different websites (you may research fairly easy for yourself) the average American household is estimated to spend $75.46 on ice cream annually, $125 on Halloween candy, costumes, and decorations during that season, $850 per year on soda alone.  Let's stop with these three:  that totals $1,050.46 per year.  None of these things are needed, and as pilgrims of the cross ought to be forsaken.  Would we serve a plate of Twinkies and Starburst to Yeshua, along with a tall ice cold Pepsi and say, "This is for You Lord?"  I don't think so.

(ENTERTAINMENTS)

We don't need entertainment.  We need to love.  Love does not seek its own.  Love endures all things.  Love suffers long, and is kind.  Watching the sunsets, listening to the birds, a walk in the park or the woods is reasonable, and for the most part free.  I looked at three web references and the average annual entertainment cost of those three websites totaled $2,550.33.  We save that much each year.  This waste cost was easy to identify.

 (VACATIONS)

We don't need vacations.  Watching the sunsets, listening to the birds, a walk in the park or the woods is reasonable, and for the most part free.  Again, we need to love, and as Yeshua taught us, to love until it hurts.  One website stated that, according to American Express the average family of four in the U.S. spends about $4,580 a year on vacations.  This expense (by the grace of God teaching us) has been reduced to nearly nothing.  We may spend a little to drive down the road to a park or trail to walk, depending on where we are. 

Let's stop here before proceeding and add the totals of the various things mentioned:  $8,180.79.  This is what is spent annually (on average) by Americans alone on vacations, entertainments, and nonfoods.  If there were 7,000 who professed Christ that would forsake these things (none of these are needs or have anything to do with the Kingdom of God as it is written, "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost [Romans 14:17]) this would total nearly $57,265,530 each year!  Dear brothers and sisters: if in Elijah's day there were 7,000 men who did not bow their knees to Baal, let there be 7,000 in the United States who do not bow their knees to these things; let us implore God for His grace, looking unto Yeshua, Who, "though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich"  [2 Corinthians 8:9], understanding the words of the apostle, in the same chapter who said, "Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also"  [2 Corinthians 8:7].

 (DECORATIONS & COLLECTIBLES)

Sadly, it has taken us while to figure out the obvious.  Our minds have been so blinded and debased for various reasons.  But as the Scripture says, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light"  [Ephesians 5:14].  We finally realized we didn't need decorations, knickknacks, and collectibles.  These things we purchased naturally without taking much thought.  But, "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ"  [2 Corinthians 4:6].  Our understanding and foolish hearts were darkened, but the words of our Lord to love God and neighbor have expelled, and are expelling, and I am persuaded will continue to expel darkness from our hearts, giving us a truer and clearer understanding of His holiness and love.   

Let me illustrate this point with a story:  If I went to the rain forest and met a man named Paul who only wore a loincloth, in fact his entire tribe has only worn loincloths to cover their secret parts for clothing, this being the culture that all in his tribe were born into, and I began to ask Paul, "Are you not ashamed that you are naked?"  He may respond with a confused look, "No.  What do you mean?"  Then after spending a few months with Paul sharing with him the good news of the gospel, and of God's love for the human race, he wished to return with me to the states for a time.  Having returned we pull up to my house, and across the yard are various decorations for my lawn ie. an old wagon wheel, fountain, and various statues that I purchased for a couple hundred dollars.  On the way to the guest room across the walls and on the dressers and tables are various collectibles ie. some made of crystal, some ceramics, etc.  Then I opened a door and showed Paul his room.  In the room are pictures of vacations, equipment solely for recreational use, and various kits for hobbies ie.  models with all of the paints and brushes, and other such toys.  After having seen all of these things Paul asks, "Are you not ashamed?"  I answer, "No.  What do you mean Paul?"  

The point of this story is that all Paul ever knew was the loincloth, and all I ever knew were needless decorations, hobbies, and collectibles.  Both Paul and I acted according to the principles or understanding of the cultures, societies, or families we were born into without taking much thought about anything else.   But "is there not a cause?", a reason to take thought?  Sure there is!  The words, "thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength...and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," teach us to take thought.

As a result of these changes in our lives our abilities to help others have increased which you can follow at  The Blessing of Water.    

(COMMUNITY) 

Finally having recognized the value of living in community with like-minded believers, this is what we are currently doing and looking for.  It makes more sense to us, that if there were 20 like-minded families living not too far from each other, whose resources (land, houses, etc.) collectively totaled such a value, that after having been sold and paid off all existing debts among the 20 families, so that there would be $1,000,000 left over, that with the $1,000,000 dollars they could purchase a hundred acres, lot out the land according to the needs of each family, and build a little pole barn house, or purchase a camper, or some other modest home if desired, and still have a few hundred thousand dollars left over to use for good causes such as orphanages, widows needs, clothing the naked, providing clean water, feeding the hungry, printing kingdom literature, spending time preaching, etc.  

Not everyone, for various reasons are able to or are willing to live this way.  The point here is to share about living simply, that others may simply live, and to share different things we have learned and how they have been a help to us and others.   

(CONCLUSION) 

Yeshua's invitation to follow Him was a call to carry the cross.  The call to carry the cross was not an invitation to a comfortable life, or to merely study the words which speak about the call; rather, this call is to crucify the fleshly, carnal, and selfish desires of the soul that seek to live without God or Neighbor in the equation.  In this worship, Yeshua is King of our hearts, and self is dethroned.  From here the paradox is learned, "We are poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." 

We have no place of our own, but we travel from place to place, working, preaching, fellow-shipping with other like-minded believers.  We are not against buying/having property, but encourage those who buy or have to be as though they possessed not, calling nothing their own but to be faithful stewards with what they buy or have, using their resources for kingdom purposes; mindful of the words of our dear Saviour, "If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?"  [Luke 16:11]  

We are not perfect, nor do we despise others.  We are aware of our own poverty and need.  This is not a competition, we are simply learning to take more seriously the words, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."  [1 John 3:16]  We are learning, and being made free from irrational opinions of men, and fleshly wisdom, trying to be faithful to maintain the standard of holiness, while being loving, patient, and kind.  

We write this not as a rebuke, but more by way of encouragement; however if, after reading you feel rebuked, let it change you.  If you are encouraged, let us rejoice together and press on to perfection!

Some of the most misunderstood words, "For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always."  [Mark 14:7]  Judas Iscariot complained saying, "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?"  However, as John explained, "This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein."  [John 12:5-6]  When Yeshua responded to Judas' complaint, saying that the poor was always with him at anytime you may do them good, He was not making light of giving to the poor, exalting Himself, or being selfish in any way; He was not preferring Himself before the poor, nor was He commissioning the erection of costly buildings devoted to Him as a praiseworthy pattern of worship.  Rather, in His unique gentleness and wisdom (characterized by our Savior throughout the Scriptures), He was being kind and understanding with the sister who gave the best she had, and exposing Judas' dissimulation.  At any time Judas could have done good to the poor, but apparently He wasn't.  His complaint was false, under the pretense of caring for the poor, when really, as the apostle mentioned, "This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein."  This dissimulation and hypocrisy Yeshua was patiently pointing out to Judas. It was a blessing to finally understand these words of our Savior which many have used as a loophole or a justification for not taking Yeshua's words seriously about helping the poor.

3 comments:

  1. I was a little curious, what is recycled food?

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    Replies
    1. I am a little curious, who are you?

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  2. When we realize that are just simple administrators of What God created and offers to humanity, will take seriously the way we live.Thank you for your example there.

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