Book Review: Small Footprint, Big Handprint

Tri Robinson’s book Small footprint, Big Handprint: How to live simply and love extravagantly is an interesting contribution to the simple living discussion. It doesn’t really deal with the science of climate change or tackle the morality of capitalism or immorality of consumerism, they’re taken as given.

Instead the heart of this little book (125 pages + study guide) focuses on the heart of a Christian. What, Tri asks, is your goal in life? To live extravagantly or love extravangantly? Which kingdom really has your heart? So here are his definitions of simple living:

“Simple living is a lifestyle that allows us to focus on the things that are most important to us, such as relationships both inside and outside our families, without being encumbered by an inordinate amount of responsibilities that demand our attention.”

“Leaving a small footprint isn’t about moving to the mountains or growing your own fruits and vegetables – it’s about creating space in your life to do things that matter.”

It’s clear to him that, ‘things that matter’ doesn’t include more possessions. A big handprint is a natural consequence of simpler living, we can devote ourselves to doing what is most important to us and to God and therefore make a greater impact with our lives. Simplicity starts with the heart and for a Christian listening to God. How should I live? What would you have me do? The second thing is a plan, simpler living doesn’t just happen (he’s right) and it needs some planning.

So this little book, from a Vineyard pastor (church of around 3,000) shows that at least some American Christian leaders of mega churches do care about these issues and that’s a good thing. It’s worth reading because it draws us back to God, and perhaps I’d recommend it to people that have never read a book on simpler living at all, but probably not to those who had. It may not add anything new.

PS. Anyone have any idea what Tri is short for?