Backpack and sleeping mat on the ground in front of a distant mountainWhenever I backpack or go on an extended hunt, I like to travel as light as possible. Even a few pounds of unneeded weight can really make a difference when you’re climbing a significant elevation gain. A friend of mine got into ultra-light backpacking and had his three-day backpack down to 18 pounds! 

I confess that I’ve never been able to get my backpack that light but it’s still very manageable. You don’t want to scrimp on essentials either and it’s only by experience that you can determine what’s too much and what’s too little to take along. It’s important to have some necessary survival gear in case of emergencies, but you simply can’t prepare for every contingency.

But I find there’s something very satisfying about the simplicity of backpacking and knowing that I’m able to carry everything I need for survival or can find it in the wilderness.

Living Simply

I have often thought of Jesus regarding the simplicity with which He lived while on earth. In Luke 9:57-58, for instance, we read, “As they were walking along the road, a man said to Him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’” 

And toward the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Luke records, “Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening He went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives.” (Luke 21:37) It sounds like Jesus was simply sleeping under the stars during that time.

And, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)

I’m not suggesting that we sell everything and live like hermits and I don’t believe that’s Jesus’ desire for us. But there is great wisdom in paring down and seeking to live a simpler lifestyle. 

For instance, I know Christians who have so many toys, they struggle to decide whether to go camping in their RV, boating, kayaking, or take the motorcycle out for the weekend. Others have gotten themselves so deep into debt that they live from paycheck to paycheck and have no reserve or savings. Being shackled with debt also severely limits options. Paul wrote, “The time is short… I would like you to be free from concern.” (1 Corinthians 7:29 & 32)

Let me challenge you to consider living a simpler life. Take inventory of your stuff. If it’s collecting dust and you haven’t used it in a year, consider selling it or giving it away. For others, it’s primarily a very cluttered calendar. Life doesn’t have to be that cumbersome! Just think of how much simpler life could be and how much freer you could be to follow Jesus and serve others. 

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:25-34

Personal Application: If you’re married, sit down with your wife. Share with her what you read here today and challenge each other to think of three ways you could simplify your life. Then do it!

  Wendell Morton and  Jim Grassi, D. Min.

We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5