Bloated On Big: A Call to Simplicity

Growing up, my family entertained a foreigner from Germany who stayed with us for a short time while he traveled on business in the United States. The experience was an unforgettable one for all of us.

Our visitor, in his semi-broken English, liked using the word "BIG" a lot to describe all things American. He was quite obsessed with this phrase. We found it humorous.

His eyes marveled at the things I took for granted every day.

Like, I had never considered that as a kid, that our 2-story 4-bedroom 2,000 square foot home was "big." It seemed quite average to me. I had some friends who lived in homes both bigger and smaller.

According to this report from data collected by the US Census Bureau, the average size of a new home being built in America today is about 2,600 square feet. Compare that to this report on Germany, where the average home size is less than 1,000 square feet. As American's, "on average" we've not lived in homes that small since the 1950's, and what is average to us is quite big to most the world.

Let's face it, in America we do "big" really well. We look to "Super-Size" everything from our French fries to our churches. When we dream, we dream big.

And there is a lot I like about that.

Except, I'm starting to feel a little bloated about the entire "big" thing.

Making everything we do the equivalent of a Thanksgiving Dinner is starting to get really tiresome, old, and unoriginal. I don't want Thanksgiving Dinner every day. On some days I just want a tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

I believe God is calling all of us to something smaller. I believe God is calling us to live more simply. I believe God is calling us to less exceptional things, and is calling us to more ordinary things. After all, it's in the ordinary every day things we find God the most.

For heaven's sake, God's only begotten Son came into this world, not as the CEO of a Fortunate 500 construction company, but as a simple carpenter. He didn't even have power tools. If Jesus would've been born in America today, He would probably work as a 1099-contract based worker. He wouldn't even officially have a "job" based on IRS standards. He would probably wear denim blue jeans that you could hang a hammer from. Jesus wouldn't be caught dead in skinny-jeans.

Let's get back to small. Let's get back to simplicity. Let's trim our budgets. Let's take on less debt. Let's build smaller churches. Let's live in smaller homes. Let's lay off the super-sized fries.

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