Tuesday, March, 6, 2018 | 1:50 PM | by Munholland
We live in a complex time when sciences and technology are increasingly specialized. The sheer quantity of information is growing at a phenomenal rate. We are increasingly 'connected' and over-scheduled. We are bombarded by marketing that appeals to our pride, status, and self-centeredness. In our affluent society everyone is offering something to separate us from our money. How can we live a simple life in the midst of complexity? The answer is simplicity - having an inward compass and shedding all the things that draw us away from our True North.
Richard Foster writes in The Celebration of Discipline about the inward attitudes and commitments that enable us to live in simplicity. First, we need to recognize that everything we have (all our possessions and resources) are gifts from God. God knows our tendency to think our successes are because we are so clever, hard-working, etc. When the Israelites were heading into the Promised Land, God told them: "You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth." (Deut 8:17-18) We are only stewards of what God has allowed us to earn. Second, remember that God - since God owns what he has entrusted to you - is going to be cared for by God. While we need to be good stewards with what God has given us, we don't need to incessantly worry about it and be anxious about 'the worst' that we can imagine. God has blessed us and will always provide for us. God is watching out for us, and that includes all the material things we are stewarding for him. Third, remember that your possessions are for the service of others -- your family, church, and community. Be open-handed with what you have so that your blessings can be a blessing to others.
Jesus gave a very succinct way of living a life of simplicity: 'Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (food, clothing, shelter, etc.) will be given to you as well' (Matt 6:33). We don't have to worry or be anxious about anything. When God's will becomes our will, then our decisions become clearer; we loosen our controlling grip on our resources and we look for ways to bless others. When we make this decision at the core of our being, then the daily decisions that tug at us will become clear and easy to make. As you move forward in life, keep in mind this simplifying question: what decision in this situation will be most pleasing to God?
Seeking 'life that is truly life.' (I Tim 6:19)
Dr. Jonathan Beck
1201 Metairie Rd.,
Metairie, LA 70005