For those of us who are of the Christian faith, Matthew 6:19-43 is one of the clearest passages about Christian simplicity in the Bible. Take a moment and read it through by clicking on it above.
The words of Jesus are radical as he instructs us to vow, “I trust that God will take care of my basic needs and I do not need to be anxious about anything.” For me, it is an invitation to live radically different than I do.
I am trying to live more simply, and discovering it’s not about simple answers as much as it is about defining my priorities of what is most important. I want to live more simply so that I can live my life with more purpose.
My problem is I don’t really stop long enough to know what my priorities are for living today. Do you? How do you do it? What is your secret? What are your priorities? How do you get on track to know if this action, or this purchase, or this way of thinking or living is in alignment with what is most important to you? Please share with me below.
I think it was my Dad who told me one time that you can tell a lot about a person’s priorities by looking at his or her bank statement. No matter what we say our priorities are, it’s about how we live our lives that is the naked truth.
And this naked truth is, quite frankly, embarrassing to my faith. I have more of almost everything that I need. I probably have more than 90% of the human families on this earth. And maybe you do too.
So is living simply about feeling guilty, because I have walked that path before? If I embrace guilt too tightly, it will surely lead to discouragement and giving this whole idea of simplifying up. I don’t think the guilt alone is the answer. We are called to act. So where do we start?
In order to live more simply, I am going to set two priorities as a first step.
1. I will spend time daily with God. This will mean sitting in silence and not asking God for things I want, or the way I want things to be, but rather asking how I can give away what I have to offer. This will be priority number one or I will truly be lost on this journey.
2. I will spend time with people I love. Relationships are important and foundational to a meaningful life. I will say yes to time with my loved ones and no to that which takes me away. I think this means not only saying no to other commitments requested by other people when it conflicts, but even saying no to this computer at times.
I don’t have all the answers for how to live simply today. I do know I want to take a look at my priorities and how I spend my time and resources based on what I say is important to me. What about you?
This is a journey towards simplicity, one priority at a time. I haven’t arrived yet, but I’ll keep moving, and I will also sit still.
What are your priorities for living a more simple life? Can you name one, two, or three?
I hope you will teach me something along the way. I need you.
My wife is sitting down on the dock right now by the lake reading by herself. It is the most beautiful 63 degree sunny day we have had in Alabama since October. And here I am writing at my computer. I have to go. I want to go sit in silence next to my wife near the water, and let the bright light of the sunshine and the gentle breeze melt my anxieties away.
Until Monday, peace (not anxiety) be with you,
Today’s Simple Invitation: Do something today that feeds your soul and doesn’t cost a dime.
Freedom from a fast-paced life: (from Richard Foster)
Change to a less stressful job
Work fewer hours
Slow down at yellow lights and drive the speed limit
Pray or talk to others in line rather than trying to get in the shortest line at the store
Say “no” to activities that take me from my current and central commitments
Eat more slowly – savor tastes
Take time for meals or coffee breaks (not on the go)
Stop to smell the roses or watch birds
Spend a leisurely evening with family or friends not worrying about the time
Take a restful vacation time rather than harried sight seeing
Keeping it Simple:
John the Baptist said, “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him (or her) do likewise.” Luke 3:11
Be radically generous. Give away a coat or anything else you have is a start. Generosity is a step towards simplicity.