What does it mean to adopt a simpler lifestyle? Richard Foster suggests a number of aspects:-
1. Simplicity means unity of heart and singleness of purpose. Our one desire is to obey Christ in all things. Our one purpose is to glorify him in all things. We have only one use for money – to advance his kingdom. Jesus taught us to have a ‘single’ eye, Mt 6:22.
2. Simplicity means joy in God’s good creation. We cherish all the free gifts of the good earth.
3. Simplicity means contentment and trust. ‘Have no anxiety about anything’, Phil 4:6. ‘Having nothing, yet possessing everything’, 2 Cor 6:10. ‘I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content’, Phil 4:11.
4. Simplicity means freedom from covetousness. Let’s Paul’s confession be ours – ‘I coveted no one’s silver or gold’, Acts 20:33.
5. Simplicity means modesty and temperance in all things. Paul calls us to be ‘sober, just, holy, temperate’, Titus 1:8. We voluntarily abstain from much in the midst of extravagant luxury. We refuse to engage in ostentatious display in clothing or manner of life. We temper our use of resources by awareness of human need.
6. Simplicity means gratitude. We are not rigid ascetics but rejoice rather in the gracious provisions that flow from the heart of God.
7. Simplicity means using money without abusing it. Knowing that value of life is not defined by wealth, or the things that wealth can bring, we hold all things lightly – owning without treasuring, possessing without being possessed. We do not deny money, but manage it for the glory of God and the good of others.
8. Simplicity means availability. Freed from the need to acquire bigger and better, we have time and energy to respond to human need.
9. Simplicity means giving joyfully and generously. ‘First they gave themselves’, 2 Cor 8:5. We give ourselves, and the product of our life’s work.
Based on Richard Foster, Money, Sex and Power, 72-74