Small ships bringing the earliest settlers to Plymouth and Virginia limited possessions to fundamentals: tools without handles; firearms with powder and shot; treasured furniture; seeds for planting, fish hooks and lines, shoots of fruit trees; the Family Bible; a simple pharmacy for illnesses; basic clothes; chests into which they crammed personal keepsakes. With economy the rule, and survival the intent, they trusted their God-given creative skills to provide other necessaries when they arrived. Colonial Design Book, 19
All of that has lessons for our discipleship. Since Jesus want us living now in the prospect of inhabiting our eternal home, he urges a minimalist approach to life-possessions. As he condemned the rich fool in Luke 12:13-21, who accumulated for a future he didn’t have, he commended the poor widow who had little for daily needs, but instead gave it to God Mark 12:41-44.
We can learn of the dangers to discipleship without making a demon of wealth or a deity of poverty. For example, and a particular curse of American life, accumulating so many possessions we first stuff our houses full, then rent storage space for the rest—because we can’t surrender what we want, see and buy.
For example, filling our schedules with so many events, meetings and activities we find ourselves coming and going—with no time to “smell the roses”, let alone contemplate the Glory of God! As if being busy proves our efficiency, not how undisciplined we are; and having no time for Bible study and worship by being so occupied with making a living. COV-19 has called a halt to some of the frenetic pace. But will it resume once life opens again, or can we have learned to do without what merely keeps us busy, not effective, particularly as we ask, “What have I done for Jesus”?
For example, knowing we need to commit our life to Jesus—and we intend to ...later; or we need more time to think about it; or we have questions that remain unanswered; or we don’t want to confront the hard things the Bible teaches: “righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come” Acts 24:25. All of that simple procrastination, like Governor Felix or King Agrippa II. Or any of us who think our doubts or reservations will ever bring us closer to God.
Spirit-filled discipleship demands our constant attention to our ultimate life-goal. That keeps our lives focused and our distractions fewer. That means we sacrifice what could be helpful now for what is essential for us to survive judgment and enter Heaven.