When you sit back and think about how our lives are supposed to be easier today than they were ten years ago do you laugh? Simplicity (affiliate link) isn’t on most people’s radar. We run ourselves to death and we have our kids enrolled in every sport or activity known to man. We can drive, talk on the phone, and get directions from Google Maps at the same time. So honestly, how much simpler is your life today? Look at all the stuff you can not live without and consider what Jesus says:
25-26″If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
27-29″Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion-do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30-33″If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers-most of which are never even seen-don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34″Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.(Matthew 6:25-34 The Message)
When we look at these scriptures they fly in the face of the busy and hurried lives we live today. Even many pastors are telling us to just believe for what we want and with enough faith we could have it all. There may come a time when no matter how much stuff we have that we may lose all we have worked so hard to get. The other problem Jesus points to is that for every extra thing we have we will add to our worry about losing it.
So What Do We Do?
We must first begin to realize the impact not living simply has on us. We do exactly as Jesus tells us not to do in Matthew six. We begin to agonize over where the money will come from. We look for ways to pay this bill now and half that bill later. In all our acquiring we begin to fall away from our trust in God. The drive behind the discipline of simplicity lies in verse 33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV). Like our Christian life, our want to know God ebbs and flows but it grows stronger with each tide. When we begin to trust in Him alone we can stop worrying about all of our stuff and the stuff of others and focus on Christ. We will see all the stuff just as it is.
I will not tell you that you need to tithe. I will tell you however that you need to start giving back. When you begin to open your hand and let some of what you think you need go, your eyes will be opened even more to the possibilities of what you already have.
What About Legalism
As with anything this and any other spiritual disciplines can become legalistic. I do not want you to think this is a must for following Jesus. Simplicity in my view is being responsible for what we are given. It is not wrong to have the large television, but it is wrong if you are not giving to your church because you have too many bills and you are putting the big screen TV on the credit card.
If you practice simplicity and try to force it on others then you are creating a legalistic environment. We need to watch our words and deeds when dealing with what we need to do and never force any practice on others.