I first heard the term “less is more” when I studied Industrial Design in college. Often attributed to Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, one of the pioneers of modern architecture, it refers to the idea that a subject has expanded impact when it is reduced to its necessary elements.
Though the “less is more” phrase first appeared in an 1855 poem by Robert Browning, the concept has been around since Biblical times.
Most notably with John the Baptist.
Sent by God to announce the coming of Jesus, foretold by Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist was the real deal. Jesus himself said, “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:11)
If anyone were deserving of acclaim, you’d figure John the Baptist would be the guy. Yet here’s what he said about himself and Jesus:
“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30)
If the greatest man who ever lived acknowledged that there needed to be less and less of him, and more and more of Jesus, where does that leave me?
“Less is more” is a relatively easy concept to accept when it comes to art and design. But it’s a whole other thing when it comes to me and my agenda.
Yet there it is, in black and white. The greatest man who ever lived recognized that there needs to be less of me, and more of Jesus. And while I rail against it and stubbornly cling to my personal desires, I know in my heart and soul that he is right.
The process of personal transformation is slow and often painful. I still have a long, long way to go. But I’m learning that, as I strive each day to make it less about me and more about Jesus, the more I become the person I always wanted to be.