Better With Less


Since the Fall, our hearts have been drowning in the sea of “More!” More power, comfort, celebrity, or money. It’s easy for us in the church to look at culture and point out this idolatry that wrecks hearts and lives. At the same time, it is easy for us to miss the self-same idolatry that resides in our own hearts.

If we’re honest, we want more just as the world around us does. We need to examine ourselves, for the good of our own souls, and be saved from the allure of “More!” In God’s wisdom, He gave us a great amount of direction on this very subject, especially in the book of Proverbs:

Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure with turmoil.
— Proverbs 15:16 (CSB)

Great Wealth

This verse directly contrasts having great wealth with having little. Contrary to culture and our own hearts, it tells us that little is better. Do we really believe that, though? How many of us would secretly be okay with a little more turmoil if it meant a little more wealth–a little more power or comfort?

We exchange fearing the Lord for “More!” quite often. While God commands us to remove idols and have no gods before him (to exercise this fear of the Lord), our materialism sets up countless gods that we pursue instead. For many, we may sacrifice our integrity, our rest, time with family, or worship of God (individual or corporate) on the altar of “More!” so often that we rarely give it a second thought.

Great Celebrity and Ministry

Proverbs leads us to ask questions beyond mere dollars and cents. It is not that we want greater wealth, but that we really want others to see us as greater. Are we okay with being a godly, faithful worker, or are we actually on a pursuit for others to see us as successful and great? To pastors especially, do we need to have “greater” ministries, or can we be content with faithful ministries?

In the age of social media and celebrity, it is challenging to be content where we are. It is easy for pastors to secretly covet the influence of the church down the street, the budget of the mega-church, or the book deal of the celebrity pastor. Wouldn’t it be better, for our people and our souls, if we learned to do better with less? Wouldn’t it be greater for God’s mission if we just served him and sacrificed our selfish pursuits for more? It’s easier said than done, but it’s vital if we want to be the servants God has called us to be.

Why do we want more?

We want more because we draw security, happiness, and significance from having “More!” More success than neighbors, more comfort, more fame, more happiness. We can’t solve this problem until we find the answer that Proverbs 15:16 gives us: God himself.

We do need more, we just need more of our Savior. He is the one we ought to be pursuing, to be resting in, to be trusting in. Only when we are growing in “More!” of Him will we be able to find the joy and security that our hearts crave.

We won’t find true joy in bigger budgets. It isn’t enough to have more money in our wallets or followers on Twitter. In the end, these things will leave our hearts in turmoil. Even if our ministry is great in size, it will not truly be great if we are lacking Christ.

Only Christ offers life and life to the full! (c.f. John 10:10). May He save us from our desire for “More!,” and give us a desire for more of Himself.


Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson by D.A. Carson
Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray
Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands by Shona and David Murray


David Appelt

David serves as the creative arts director at NewLife Community Church in Canal Winchester, Ohio. He’s a husband to Rachel, and a full-time music snob. He graduated from Capital University with an emphasis on Music Ministry. He plans on pursuing pastoral ministry in the future.