Thursday Themes is an ongoing series of posts focused on given topics or passages of scripture relevant to adoption, knowing God, and learning to live simply and love radically. Please feel free to tweet theme suggestions to me @MamaMcAfee or leave a suggestion in the comments section.
This week we are starting a new theme on living simply. If I had a tag line to carry around with me and introduce the most basic important parts about who I am what I believe, it would be this: Live simply. Love radically. That's it. If you sum up all I believe about God, all I believe about humanity, all I believe about this world we live in and what we do in it into a few simple words, you get live simply and love radically.
In the Live Simply Series we're focusing on what it means to live simply in all aspects of our lives.
Living simply has exploded onto the pop culture scene over the last few years with the green movement and fair trade and the movement to end modern slavery and other like-minded movements.
I think living simply does encompass all of those things, but I also believe it is so much more.
Maybe it's an outcry against my overly analytical mind, but I believe in simplifying relationships, in simplifying the things you put into your head and simplifying the things that come out of your mouth. I believe in simple faith and simple beliefs. I believe in simple.
When I start exploring the complex problems of our world, I get the feeling we've made things too complex, in turn, causing our complex problems. Too many governmental regulations. Too many loan options. Too many media outlets. Too many hands in too many cookie jars.
And I can't help but wonder, if we had clung to simple and shunned complex, would we be facing these gargantuan problems which seem to grow more and more gargantuan every day?
I think Jesus believed in living simply too.
Isn't that what the whole sermon on the mount is about? Simplifying what we have made complex.
Over the centuries between Moses receiving the law and Christ fulfilling it, we steadily made the law more complicated than it already was, adding rules about how to avoid adultery and how to give to the temple treasury and what was acceptable and what was not acceptable on the Sabbath.
But Jesus in a few words spoken on a mountain side to a bunch of people holding to hope in this strange man with his strange words cut it to the quick. It's not complicated. It's simple.
Let me be clear. I'm not saying loving your neighbor or gouging out the eye which causes you to sin is easy. What I'm saying is it's simple. It's clear and precise. It's not big and grand. It's not eloquent prayers which make the crowded temple stop and take notice. It's the simpleness of Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven...
Jesus taught simple. Not easy...but simple.
I'm not always great at living simply. Time and again I make things far more complex than they need to be, but I'm learning. I'm learning to simplify. I'm learning to get back to the basics. To purge the complex and discover underneath the wealth and beauty of the central principles of life.
Why is living simply so important to me?
Because living simply produces for me a richer, more rewarding day to day than complex ever offered. Because living simply allows me more joy, more hope and more faith than complex living ever could. Because living simply fills my lungs with the fresh air of contentment in all things rather than the stagnate air of discontented complex.
Living simply is a way of life that radically redefines the way you see the world and the way you interact with it. It's almost never easy, but always rewarding. And at the end of the day, those who choose to pursue simple, I believe, will be far better people for it and will know God in a much deeper way than when complex got it the way.