Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Isaiah 55:2 (NIV)
The tendency of we as humans is to accumulate things. We accumulate:
ways of doing things (traditions)
expectations from others or ourselves
and the list continues…
Of course not all of these are bad. Many are good things. Yet all the same it is still more and it builds over time and complicates our lives. When we are too full of commitments and possessions we can quickly lose our source of energy and passion.
In many ways it has trickled into the church and Christian teaching as well. It continues to build until we crash. But we don’t have to crash.
There is another way. A path to simple Christian living.
Living simply is different for each person but the principals and fruit of that process is the same.
Simplicity is clearing our lives of distractions and instead focusing solely on the important things that God has for us.
The less we are connected to the things that don’t hold importance the more we can focus on the important.
Learning from those who don’t have
I have had the opportunity to participate in several overseas mission trips and on each trip I have the same experience of meeting people so connected to their faith that it almost stuns me.
They have very little possessions. Often opportunities are limited and their lives are challenging. And yet they seem to have a deep commitment and joy in their purpose for Christ. More smiling, more laughter, more peace, and more freedom.
I experience the freedom they feel on those short trips. But then the trip finishes, we go home, and eventually end up back into everyday life filled up with other stuff. It doesn’t have to be that way though.
I think simplicity helps us free ourselves from the pull of everything put on us as we go through life. A short story in the Bible summarizes this so well. Go read the parable of the rich fool and Jesus’ explanation here. Then come back and let’s discuss.
What’s the result of simplicity?
I think it’s an obviously joy filled life that is singularly focused on Jesus, others, and the passions of your life.
What are your thoughts on simplicity?
Why do you feel a call to simplify?
I have experienced the same in my mission trips as well…but not just overseas, domestically too. It seems like the faith and joy of those living “simply” far exceeds that of many who have “more.” I think living simply is an easy concept to get behind. We all want simpler, more focused lives. But it’s harder to put into practice. I especially desire to live more simply in my schedule. A wise Christian woman once described how she measures her decisions when it comes to the schedule. She and her husband have written a family mission statement and each time they are faced with another opportunity (or demand) they check to see if them taking that on aligns with why they feel God has put them here. Sometimes, she said, it’s the most freeing thing to be able to say ‘no’ even if you have nothing else going on because you are trying to live simply and intentionally. I haven’t implemented this myself yet, but I think it’s a pretty good idea.
Kimber, thank you for jumping into the conversation! You make a great point that it isn’t limited to international countries but seems to be this universal truth that to a point ‘less is more’. I guess one of those upside down Kingdom of God concepts that doesn’t make sense at first glance.
I also agree simplicity is a desirable concept for most of us. As you mentioned, I find it very hard to actually put into practice in everyday life. I am going to explore more practical ways to implement this in daily life in the future so we can all take steps toward living a simple life together. I think your example of a practical step is a great one. Saying no is so hard especially for those that want to have an impactful life. If you give her method a try, share back with us, we would love to hear how it goes.
A simple life calls for trust and obedience.