But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
This verse pretty well says it all about the Spiritual Practice of Simplicity. Like Frugality, Simplicity is more of a way of life than anything else; you don’t withdraw to a quiet room for this one.
Jesus told the people of His time not to worry about anything and not to be overly concerned about money, possessions and above all not to be pulled into greed. Yet the society of His day was far more simple than the one in which live today. Is it even possible for us to live simple lives?
The starting point of simplicity is to have an absolute passion and priority for the Kingdom of God, so much so, in fact, that the acquisition of material possessions is based purely upon practical necessity. Here’s an illustration:
When I was 8 years old, we did not have any of the following items:
A color TV, cable or satellite.
A cell phone of any kind.
A computer or tablet.
A microwave or convection oven.
A garage door opener.
Air conditioning, either in the house or the car.
A big house.
A powered lawn mower or any other powered lawn or garden tools… or any kind of power tools for that matter.
Electric kitchen appliances.
A printer or fax machine, or voice mail in any form; needless to say, we didn’t have internet either.
My sister and I walked to school every day by ourselves.
Were we poor? No, we were upper middle class, and our swimming pool was actually heated. The only thing is, most of the items, necessities of life that they are, didn’t exist− so I know that none of them are actually “needs”.
To practice simplicity, we must learn to tell the difference between things we want and things we need, and to sacrifice the wants for the sake of the Kingdom.
Many people who practice simplicity find that having a better connection with the Creation is beneficial, although city dwellers can practice it too. Many find that a heightened appreciation for God’s natural creation is helpful because it reminds us that we really don’t “own” anything, for all that we have was provided by God for our Provision, except maybe things that are on my list above…
Some find it helpful to live in very simple circumstances in the country rather than in town where the pressure is greater to follow the crowd. Some might even learn to live “off grid” like the Amish do. Others believe that an enhanced connection with Nature brings them much closer to God; some of those practice Naturism to be at one with Nature as Adam and Eve were.
The point is that the practice of simplicity is all about your priorities and mindset. I think we can all agree on that. To be honest, this one has a certain attraction for me, and when I was a young man, I wanted to buy a place out in the mountains, a simple cabin sounded good, and live a simple life as many of our ancestors did on the frontier. Of course, wives have a way of using their Veto power to derail such notions… not to mention the fact that, having grown up in the city, I lacked all of the skills required by such circumstances. Being older now, it also occurs to me that living a life way out yonder would make it a little difficult to build the Kingdom by sharing the love of Christ with squirrels and jackrabbits.
Yet we can all have a different outlook on the materialism of this world in which we live.
Any thoughts on this one?