More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity (David C Cook, 2013)

more or less

More or less.

More or less is a timely book that address the excessive lifestyles we all live. You may be reading this saying what me? Yes you. If you are reading this on a computer device that belongs to you, you are rich. We as a people as a culture have more than most people in the world has and we feel like we are wallowing in poverty because we have a massive comparison problem. We feel like we are poor because we see what all our friends have on Facebook. We see the vacations they take the TV’s they buy and the food they eat. We have a comparison problem because famous people and the companies that hire them tell us daily how our lives are incomplete without the gadget they are pushing.

In this book author Jeff Shinabarger does a compelling job of telling his very personal story and pulling you into it. Shinabarger offers many practical suggestions on how to live simply. We don’t see our excess because it’s all we know. When you go to another country you realize how much of everything we have in America. I was really challenged by many of the chapters in Jeff’s book. I am going to do some of the “enough experiments” in our family.

Overall I really enjoyed the book. I would recommend it to everyone.

That being said the one thing I would like to have seen added to the book was to with an understanding about where generosity comes from. Many times in this book Jeff says “you need to decide where your line is. You need to decide how much is enough.” What I would have loved was a short chapter that helps set up the idea that we can’t decide that line, it’s determined for us by Christ. Where does materialism start? Materialism starts at the moment you put your hope in someone, or something that isn’t Christ. Me centered altruism can never do what Christ centered generosity can do. We don’t give because we have too much, we don’t give because it feels good although both are true. We give because “God so loved the world that He gave” We give because we have been given. The line we have to draw is not what do I think is enough but “Is God enough.” Until we can say that God is enough we will try to fill our lives with either altruism or materialism. When God is enough we are free to enjoy this material world and we are free to give everything because we realize that because we have been given everything by God there is nothing God can not require from us.

Taking all of that into account I would recommend this book and do recommend it. I plan on referencing it to help me with the practical things I can do to take the focus off me and what I need on a more regular basis.


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