We have finished our review of Matthew Six, right?
Well, not exactly, there’s more to think about, and it seems to me that this is the perfect season to be thinking about these things, after all, aren’t we the very ones who talk about keeping Christ in Christmas… and all that kind of stuff? Of course “keeping” Christ in Christmas is a dubious notion, but I’ll talk about that some other time; for now let’s just remind ourselves why He came. I will admit dear reader, that I have chosen a somewhat unorthodox way to approach this “getting ready for Christmas” thing, yes, I realize that I am supposed to be talking about the “Christmas Story” not the basic teachings of Jesus during the month of December!
Yet, I keep coming back to Matthew Six! Why?
Let’s see, what have we taken from our review of this chapter? Jesus came to show us real humility, selflessness and forgiveness. He showed us how our prayers need to be centered on God’s priorities, not our own ‘wish list.’ And that our spiritual journey has nothing to do with impressing those around us, but that it has everything to do with our relationships with Almighty God, and Him alone. Then He addressed money, things and the priorities of this life, and taught us that we need not worry about our material sustenance, about all of the cares and troubles of this life, and that instead of that, our priorities need to be centered on the things of God. Again, He brought us to a point of relationship with God, rather than the things of men.
Do you know what we get when we put this all together? Humility, selflessness and forgiveness, plus real prayer and fasting, minus the cares and worries and priorities of this world?
Here, we can diagram it into an equation if you like: (H + S + F) + (PF) – (C + W) = ____
(Hint: the answer to the question is another classical spiritual discipline)
The answer is Simplicity
Simplicity is just as much a spiritual discipline (or practice) as prayer, fasting, meditation, study and all the rest. Jesus came to this earth to show us a better way to live in simplicity… isn’t that exactly how He lived? Did He have a mortgage, or car payments, or a portfolio of high risk investments? Did He spend His time running all over town on errands, appointments and then come home to worry about the bills? Was He concerned with having people think He was spiritual, upright and true?
No, of course not!
I would like to be clear about this, dear reader, for I do understand the realities of modern life, and I’m not suggesting that jobs, finances, investments and all of those kinds of things are bad or evil; I’m talking about priorities. As we go through our modern lives, do we leave any time for God?
That’s the real question. Are we so caught up in the holiday crush, that we forget all about the things that are really important?
You know what? I think I’ll just stop right there and let everyone have a chance to think about it, and then we’ll come back later and wrap up the conversation…