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The Minimum Requirement

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 and 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 a good friend, a good spouse, a good parent, a 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. We call this “efficient.”

It’s even more insidious when we inevitably apply this attitude to our faith. What are the minimal requirements to still be considered a Christian? What’s the least I can do and still get to heaven?

These minimalist questions miss the point and lead us into boring, mediocre, unfulfilling lives.

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.

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 Christianity? Live that.

The minimum requirement (and the most simple) is to give everything we’ve got. We should stop wasting life trying to get away with something less.

(Originally published 07.25.2013)



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