Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:129-130 (NIV)
I have a little sign on my living room mantel that says, “Cherish Life’s Simple Pleasures.” I think it a good reminder not to try to overdo, but to enjoy the gift of each moment. I thought of it when some friends and I were a lunch last week. In the midst of our conversation, one asked us how we would define the simple life. Several suggestions were given. Someone thought it meant a quiet life in the country without a hectic pace of city life. Another said a life free of clutter both in the phyiscial sense as well as in activites. Not a lot of junk laying around the house and time to rest and play and enjoy each day. Getting through life with only the bare necessities was also mentioned. We debated whether it meant going back to old fasioned ways, making your own bread, raising your own chickens, growing a garden. I noted that though today’s media touts the “simple life,” they only succeed in making things very complicated. Who knew one woman could make so much money teaching us to tie a bow and decorate a cake? A whole generation of women being brought up that looks, not of yourself, but of your home is the most important thing to consider. We never really reached a conclusion about what it meant. I thought of that conversation a lot as I have been reading through Proverbs where the Solomon writes in a negative way about the simple minded. He speaks of people who see one dimensionally. They only know what is before them and do not look for deeper truths in life. He equates simple with being foolish and talks about how they will only come to ruin. I think God calls us to live simply, but not to be simple minded. In fact, I think that they go hand in hand. If we understand that everything comes from God and that He has called us to love and worship Him and to be a reflection of Him, we get our priorities in order. If God is first, stuff falls way down the list of things I am concerned about. Instead, I focus on looking for His Hand at work in my life and that of those around me. I listen carefully for His Voice. I obey and do what He calls me to do. I know a lot of people who are just those kinds of Christains yet, their house is full of knickknacks and decorations. Does that make them less believers? No, I don’t think so. I think living simply means that the stuff doesn’t really matter. Our lives are not wrapped around it, and we know what is of real value. Does God call me to live sparsely and without beauty around me? No, as long as I don’t make having things my goal. Living simply means I know Who I serve and am not a slave to the things of this earth.