Welcome to the Kingdom of Heaven

Tiny House Living in an Aladdin Trailer

Hello Friends,

Today we're going to be talking about a dramatic change we made where we eventually sold everything and moved into a tiny trailer.

The simple lifestyle we live today is vastly different from the hectic careers we once held in the city. One day, we'd had enough. We ditched our apartment, bought a little 15-foot travel trailer and began camping without electricity, heat,  or even running water.

For two years, we lived full time in our little travel trailer. In this tiny house, our hearts and minds were awakened to a whole new way of living as we came away from the things of man and began seeking the things of God.

Before we were awakened, Joe and I had well-paying professional jobs working for the state. We lived on my income and used Joe's for fun, entertainment, travel and toys. We bought custom furniture and appliances, gadgets, bicycles, books, whatever caught our eye. We even bought a single engine airplane and both of us became pilots.

Now before you think that this was a great life, I must tell you the truth. It is an empty, soul-robbing life. No matter how much we spent on things, the emptiness just grew. The sad truth is that once you have life's essentials covered, the rest of the money goes for trivial things.

We had more funds than we knew what to do with. You know the wealthy hide a very sad truth: Money cannot buy what our souls really crave. After the necessities are purchased, the things money can buy are frivolous luxuries. As Ziggy says, "The best things in life aren't things."

Remember when that man came up to Jesus and said, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."

Jesus refused to get involved in that dispute about material things. Instead he replied:

“Man, who appointed me judge or arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:13-15)

While working for THE MAN our storehouse of goods was full, but our souls were empty.

On a whim we bought a 15-foot Aladdin Travel Trailer to use for camping on weekends.  We desperately wanted out of the madness of our city jobs for at least 2 days a week.

We leased a forested campsite in a private park along the river, a half hour from our rented tri-plex apartment in town. In this wilderness we began to heal our minds and bodies as we walked along the river, reconnecting with God's creation and with each other.

In the evening we sat around the campfire strumming the guitar and singing or just quietly watching the fire. Sometimes we would walk into the meadow and gaze up at the stars.

So satisfying was this adventure, we dreaded going back to work on Monday morning. Previously, we had taken long weekends flying in our private plane to San Francisco or L,A., to the mountains or to the ocean, but we grew only more unsettled. I remember asking, "When is our life going to really begin? This life seems so artificial. I feel like a well-kept slave, but a slave nevertheless."

I wasn't free to enjoy the beauty of the day. I was stuck in a drab grey office. I couldn't help wondering if the only reason I was working was for the money.

I was employed by a group of research doctors who received grants to do psychological studies. The problem was that they sat around and joked and read novels until a few days before the study was due. Suddenly, they kicked into gear frantically typing away, making up details as they went along.

For instance, they would claim that for one month they had been carefully monitoring a group of 200 high school students to evaluate whether they inherited anxiety from their parents. "Sam," they'd say, "should we conclude that 35 percent of anxiety was explained by family history? Or does 42 percent sound more believable?" Lies and con artists they were, stealing taxpayer dollars.

Joe's job was more fulfilling - he worked with engineers to develop computerized road-use studies.  But then came the pink slip requirement. Each day he had to account for every 15-minute period of every 8-hour day so that the correct department could be billed.

There was no margin for 15 minutes spent discussing anything that was not billable. Joe felt uneasy about fudging actual time spent on a project and hated the ritual of making his time sheet look acceptable. Joe's blood pressure rose dangerously. I noticed a large protruding blood vessel throbbing on his forehead.

We started out only staying in our travel trailer on weekends, but after a few weeks, we started commuting out to our little camp in the woods every weeknight, not just on weekends.  Here among the flowing river and majestic fir trees, we realized we had become slaves to the money god. We'd been selling our lives for a filthy paycheck. Our material wealth clouded our need for the living God.

We began asking important questions like, "Why are we here? For what purpose have we been given life? Is there a God? If there is a God, do we owe him something for this gift of life?"

We marveled over being aware of our own existence and we  wondered if we were the only creatures who were conscious that they were alive.

After about two months of daily camping, we desperately wanted out of the city. We realized we only stopped into our apartment to take showers.

So we loaded up our furniture, appliances, gadgets and accumulated clutter and packed it all into a rented storage unit. We kept just a few essentials that would fit in our tiny travel trailer. Since we needed dress clothes for work, we strung a rod across the back seat of our car and hung our work outfits. No more monthly utility bills or rent. Our only monthly bill was for the storage unit.

To bathe, we stopped in at the National Guard Armory and took showers after they held classes. We also paid to swim at the university pool and showered there. Later, when we left our city jobs, we found other ways to shower.

After about four months of paying for the storage unit, we realized we didn't want all that junk back. We loved the freedom of having only a few necessities.

We sold all that was in our storage unit to a young couple who were getting married and needed everything to start a household.

Meanwhile, we were busy ditching canned entertainment like movies, concerts,  and restaurants. We found it more satisfying to make our own recreation, playing our own musical instruments, and cooking our own simple meals. And it was a lot cheaper than relying on others.

Instead of the pets we had in the city, we were visited by bobcats, deer, mountain beavers, a herd of elk and even a lynx cat. We knew when bears came out of their winter hibernation because they dug hungry paws deep into the 10-foot high ant hills to feast on ant eggs.

Besides learning about wild edible plants, we discovered foxfire among the rotting limbs. As we would approach at night, it looked like the fallen branches were on fire. What we were looking at is a fungi that lives on decaying timber and emits a phosphorescent light that looks like fire. It's amazing stuff.

We also spotted glow worms. We'd gather the glowworms into a jar and noticed that certain worms would have a stronger glow than others. Someone said it was because their light grew brighter when they became agitated. Oh, who knows? And then there were the rubber boas, - snakes so friendly Joe would wrap them around his arms and even around his neck, much to everyone's shock.

Discovering our Father's creation engrossed and entertained us far more than movies and concerts.

Though we weren't conscience of it, in our new life, we were obeying Christ's command to sell what we had. Though we didn't give what we sold to the poor, at least we divested ourselves of unnecessary material possessions.

"Sell your possessions and give to the poor," said Jesus at Luke 12:33.

When we began living in a tiny travel trailer, our eyes were awakened. And that was the beginning of the way out of the world system.

This requirement of Jesus to forsake all that we possess seems so extreme that most people excuse it away. "Oh, that's just for the rich young ruler." But Jesus does demand that we let go of our old life in the world and take a leap of faith.

Before being awakened to the Kingdom of Heaven, we thought like the world. We were steeped in the world's values and priorities. We needed a new start.

We ventured into the wilderness to get away from the things of man and to learn the things of God.

Anyone who forsakes his possessions, home and relationships is in for a big battle. Your family will be the first to tell you that you can't sell what you have and start over. "You must be out of your mind," they'll say. But you must. The time in the wilderness is essential to beginning your walk with Jesus. We need to shed the old ways and learn to trust that Jesus will lead us even though we had no visible support from the world.

How can we be truly born again and yet continue in the same job, the same relationships, the same house. We can't bring all that worldly bias into His Kingdom. Clear the mind. Step out without the security of the world. Trust Him completely.

While it is a terrifying thought to walk in complete dependence on God, how else can we know that He will take care of us. Let us go forth with joy and look forward to the new things He will open up as we surrender our life to Him.

Wake up and repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.