Definition: In the context of Lord’s service austerity is a manner of life characterized by simplicity, moderation and restraint in material concerns.
1. Austerity-mindedness means valuing what the Lord provides and not being wasteful.
Proverbs 12:27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.
Proverbs 21:20 [It is wise to be saving, foolish to be wasteful] There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
Proverbs 29:3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
Luke 15:11-13 [The parable of the Prodigal Son:] And He said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
John 6:12 [Jesus set the example by not being wasteful with material things] When they were filled, He said unto His disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
1 Corinthians 7:31a And they that use this world, as not abusing [misusing] it.
2. Being austerity-minded helps to you to be prepared for difficult times.
Genesis 41:29,30,34,36 [Joseph instructs Pharaoh to prepare for coming drought and consequent famine at a time when things are going well:] Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: 30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; 34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. 36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. [SeeGenesis 41 : all]
Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest
Proverbs 21:20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished [suffer for it].
3. Austerity is part of good stewardship.
Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
Matthew 24:45,46 [God blesses faithfulness with material things] Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing.
Matthew 25:21,29 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 29 For unto every one that hath [things gained through faithfulness and good stewardship] shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not [through laziness and waste] shall be taken away even that which he hath.
Genesis 41:38-41 [When Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, and warned him of hard times ahead and advised him to appoint a faithful steward as economic czar:] Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? 39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. 41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. [See Genesis 41 : all]
Luke 16:1,2 [Those who are wasteful lose God’s blessings] And He said also unto His disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. 2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
Luke 16:10-12 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
4. Austerity-mindedness requires a sense of moderation.
Proverbs 25:16 Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
Proverbs 30:7-9 [Solomon prayed:] Two things have I required of Thee; deny me them not before I die: 8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the Name of my God in vain. Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.
Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Philippians 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
5. To be austerity-minded, it helps to be content with what the Lord supplies.
Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
Philippians 4:11,12 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 But Godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6. In the Lord’s service, putting His work above our own material needs comes naturally.
Matthew 6:24,25 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? … 33 But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.
Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
7. Time is our most valuable resource, so redeeming the time is also part of austerity.
Proverbs 18:9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
John 9:4 I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
1 Corinthians 7:29a But this I say, brethren, the time is short.
Ephesians 5:15,16 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
James 4:14-15 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Romans 13:11-12 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our Salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.