Simplicity is our theme on Wednesday nights for this month, and I’ve been thinking about what this means in my life since it was introduced last week.
First, here is the definition of the word. Wikipedia says, “Simplicity is the state or quality of being simple. Something which is easy to understand or explain seems simple, in contrast to something complicated.” I also liked the synonyms I found for the word–clarity, clearness, comprehensibility, understandable, accessibility, and straightforwardness.
For many things in our lives, these words apply. Who, among us, has wanted math or English or science to be more understandable? How about being able to understand how to fix a car so we don’t have to pay someone else to do it? What about reading a recipe? The examples could go on and on of things we would like to be simple and understandable.
Why is it, then, that we make other things so complicated in our lives? From the people we associate with to our jobs to the things we buy, to how we behave, our lives have a tendency to go from one complicated mess to another.
This isn’t unique to modern times though. Jesus had something to say about it in Scripture. From the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42, “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed–or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.'”
We read this Scripture and think Jesus was harshly rebuking Martha. I don’t think so. I like to think that maybe after He made this statement, He might have invited her to join them and told her it was okay if dinner wasn’t ready for a few more minutes. He wanted people to hear what He had to say.
Isn’t that what we try to do now though? Focus on the complications and the minutiae of our lives instead of listening to God’s words. Satan uses the complications of our lives to take our focus off of God and make us think He isn’t with us in whatever we are experiencing. But, He is with us, no matter what, and I am very grateful.
So, how does that relate to simplicity? In two ways, I think. First, we need to be happy with what we have. There will always be someone who has something better than what we have. If we keep our eyes focused on God, we won’t have the time or inclination to be envious of them. Two, and this one is the most important to me. We need to focus on what we can do for others and not ourselves. The accumulation of monetary assets does no one any good if they are not used to further God’s kingdom.
I have worked on focusing on what I can do for others during the last few weeks, and it has improved my own mental outlook. When I think of how excited someone is going to be because of something I’ve done that has cost me time, money, or a combination of both, a sense of peace comes over me, and I think my life gets closer to what Jesus wants from me.
In conclusion, I think Matthew 6:33-34 represents the ultimate definition of simplicity for me. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” So thankful for my Lord and Savior who has blessed me abundantly with the simple things in life!
God’s blessings on all of you today!