Less is actually more

Published 11:28 am Wednesday, March 27, 2019

I was watching a video the other day on the proper way to shine dress shoes. I wear mine a bunch and they always seem to get scuffed up. The man doing the video as he explained how to apply conditioner, polish, and wax kept using the phrase “less is more.” After a while, he began to bug me. I don’t know if it was the way he said it, or that it was in direct contrast to what I/ we think of as beneficial in our lives. We aren’t told that less is better. We are told that more is good and the more you can get the better off you will be. Right? At least that’s what our culture conjures up.

I think scripture is clear, as far as faith goes, that “faith without works is dead,” and also that “we are saved by God’s grace, not by the works of our hands.” I wonder then why it is that so many of us believe that it is what we do and how many people we help that will get us to heaven. I think we need to peek into the perspective of the heart. Do we do what we do so that we can get to heaven? Or do we live the way we live because the love of Christ motivates us to do as we love others? There is a difference. One is “getting it done” because we think it’s a box we can check to help us feel better and somehow think we can justify our faith accordingly. The other is “just doing it” because we cannot do anything else. It is the result of who resides in us and guides our lives. The byproduct of living out of this perspective is that by God’s grace we may be granted access to His presence for all eternity (which we call heaven), but that is not the reason we live this way. We live this way because as followers of Jesus we cannot faithfully live any other way.

What performance standards are you attempting to achieve? How many more boxes do you have to get checked before God gives you a good evaluation? Perhaps we need to change our perspectives on what faithful performance looks like. It might just be that as we follow Jesus authentically, we discover that — less is actually more. More real. More generous. Move loving. May we all trust in God’s grace in such a way as to live out our faith — because of who we are and not where we hope we’re gonna go.

Tim Beck is pastor of Kenbridge United Methodist Church. His email address is revtimbeck@gmail.com.