Last week I tweeted this: "The Lord has shown me how frugality and simplicity can lead to idolatry and danger just as fast as materialism and greed can." Some people commented asking me to elaborate. Here goes, in simple form. In Matthew 6:25-33 Jesus describes for us the right relationship with the material world: "Seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness" and he will take care of the rest. Bottom line is this: the desire for a simple life becomes idolatry when it takes precedence over seeking God's Kingdom.
It is quite the balancing act for many of us. Have or have not? Sell it or keep it? Spend it or save it? Need it or want it? Live in the land flowing with milk and honey? Or sell all we have and give to the poor?
It is clear to me that when we live in materialism and greed, it is sin and idolatrous. But what seems to be just as bad is when we are obsessed with our frugality. When we are in love with our simplicity. It is easy for the very thing that started out as obedience and humility to transition to disobedience and pride. It really comes down to the posture and motivation deep in our hearts.
I talked to a 70-year-old leader recently who told me that he has gone down far down both roads (extreme materialism and extreme simplicity) and found that they both lead to a mess. You can live in a shack or a mansion and seek first the Kingdom. It is about your heart. Where is your heart?