7.12.08

sim·plic·i·ty\sim-ˈpli-sə-tē: the state of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded

Simplicity is a virtue. Not simplicity for simplicity's sake, but because "God made man simple; man's complex problems are of his own devising." (Eccles 7:30) Not to be simple of mind; Proverbs calls that man a fool. The proof of inward simplicity is in how you live. You can think about how much you want to live a simpler life and admire people who do, but that doesn't really get anywhere unless you pursue it yourself, inside AND out. It really is like St. Augustine says: "The best apologetic is a life well lived."

This all comes about because of none other than the Celebration of Discipline by Richard J Foster. There were a few extra mattresses floating around in my place tonight so I decided to move one of them into the living room to sleep in there. And then I got to thinking how ridiculous how many rooms and mattresses I have for so few people. I already have a mattress for myself, and yet I wanted a different one to sleep on. I had, in my apt, 6 mattresses for only one sleeping girl. I thought it rather selfish as I know that there are people around here who could probably use one. So I thought this moment would be a good time to skip ahead to the books chapter on "simplicity".

This is a crazy world. We fill our lives with worthless stuff because we believe that those things will give us some sort of value in life. "We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like". Most of our society has no ability to see through all their stuff and into the things that give true meaning and value. Henry David Thoreau (author of "Simplify, Simplify!") says: “Our life is frittered away by detail." This how materialistic our culture has become, and because of it, this is also how we are. We cannot escape it.

The Bible talks all the time about the dangers of wealth. The love of money is the root of all evil, "He who trusts in wealth will wither" Prov 11:28, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth" (Matt 6:21). James says this: "You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war." (James 4:1-2). He's blaming murder and war on our selfishness and want for more and more stuff.

This is where simplicity comes in. Again, not just simplicity for simplicity's sake, because that would be legalism and I think we would become very judgemental. Not simplicity to prove to others how noble you are. But simplicity for the sake of getting us out of this selfish, materialistic mindset. Intentionally choosing to put God before our wealth. I'm not going to write it all down here (it's rather long), but Foster uses Matt. 6:25-33 as his main point: "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well." (v. 33)

Our culture has its own reasons for living simply: Going 'green', and empathy with the poor are two of those. However, if you look at what Jesus says, these are not reasons why we should practice simplicity. But by putting God FIRST, these things will come out of our lifestyle. BECAUSE we love God we should steward the earth. BECAUSE we love God we should care for the poor and the needy. FIRST, seek the Kingdom. And TRUST God with everything you have and everything you need. If God really is who He says He is, then "Do not be anxious about tomorrow." Simplicity is freedom from all this worry about all our stuff. Knowing that, in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter!! Simplicity is not a burden; it's a joy to find release from stuff - from the mindset of needing and wanting more and more and more. Simplicity means living with less, but living more intentionally. "Outwardly Simple, and Inwardly Rich." From Celebration of Discipline: "Experiencing the inward reality liberates us outwardly. Speech becomes truthful and honest. The lust for status and position is gone because we no longer need status and position. We cease from showy extravagance not on the grounds of being unable to afford it, but on the grounds of principle. Our goods become available to others. We join the experience that Richard E. Byrd, after months alone in the barren Arctic, recorded in his journal, "I am learning....that a man can live profoundly without masses of things."

I love living out a suitcase. I have just what I need, nothing more. It stresses me out to come home to so much stuff (Although I appreciate my closet full of clothes much more) - stuff that I know I don't need, but can't seem to part with. It's not about envying other peoples' stuff, but enjoying what you have! And appreciating everything that God has given you. What would life look like if we had only what we needed. Well, I guess it would look like the lives of most of the world.

I want to try to put some of my old pictures on here from the past couple of years...so here are a few things that I appreciate about Minnesota (Grand Marais):
Fall colors



Flip Flops and Hot Chocolate on freezing cold days

And the perfectly roasted marshmallow

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