As I get older, I find myself becoming more and more of a minimalist. I want less stuff. I want less distractions. I want less good things in my life in order to make more room for the best things in life.
I’m becoming a big fan of that kind of minimalism. But minimalism can also be bad. Like when it causes us to only put in the minimal amount of effort toward the most important things in our lives.
What’s the least I can do and still be a good friend, husband or father? What’s the least I can work and still be thought a good worker? What’s the least I can give and still be considered a generous person?
We want to be able to think of ourselves (and have others think of us, too) as a good friend, good spouse, good parent, good worker and a generous person. But we only want to do just enough to be considered so — and no more. That way we can spend the rest of our time doing what we’d rather be doing.
In other words, we’re still selfish, we’re just less honest and more socially responsible in our selfishness.
It’s even more insidious when we inevitably apply this attitude to our faith. What are the minimal requirements to still be considered a good Christian? What’s the least I can do and still get to heaven?
This minimalist approach will steal the sweetness from your life and ultimately make it boring, mediocre and unfulfilling.
Rather, we should instead be asking what’s the most I can do for my spouse? What’s the most I can give to others? What’s the most I can do for my friends and my children? That’s where the bar should be set.
Not what is the least I can do to be a good Christian, but what is the most beautiful, most truthful and fullest expression of the Christian life? That’s the goal. And when you come up short, rejoice in your baby steps and your perseverance.