Have you ever taken an inventory of all the things you have, the places you go, the time you spend on activities, and tried to determine what things were absolutely necessary to your life and what things were add-ons, more wants than needs. Check out the following list, and as you read each item decide whether it is an absolute need, a nice thing to have, or an outright unnecessary addition.
CD player...Vehicle...Work...Clothes...Money...Shelter...Food...Cell Phone...Air
The list could go on forever, but let’s look at a few of these things. Hopefully, you could be truthful with yourself and realize that a CD player or cell phone were not in the absolute need category, but what about a vehicle? We certainly believe that we cannot live without a vehicle of some kind, that it is an absolute necessity. As a matter of fact, many of us cannot live without two or three vehicles. But there are many people that survive very well and have never and will never have a vehicle of their own in their lifetimes. Clothes are nice, but the truth is if they were a necessity for covering or protection, most of today’s styles would never have come into existence. Now our issue with clothing may be that we see it as a necessity for modesty, but survival does not hinge on being clothed. We could go on and on, but in reality the basic list of things you need to survive are some amount of food (probably a fraction of what we currently consume), air, some type of shelter in certain situations and weather conditions, and a relationship with God.
Why then can’t our lives be that simple? How can we remove the complexity we have built into our lives, the constant worry about having enough, and come back to the simplicity of walking with God and trusting Him for provision. In Matthew 6 Jesus said, “Has anyone by fussing in front of a mirror gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion, do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers-most of which are never even seen-don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works” (The Message).
Our theme at the Junior and Senior high camps this summer was TSL-The Simple Life. There are many who think the simple life involves hillbillies and country folk. That to live simply you must be dumb or crazy. That the whole fabric of their lives would come apart if they weren’t striving for more of something every day. And if they were to find some “simple” folk, those folk are good for laughing at and ridiculing because they’re unsophisticated or totally out of it. That’s not the simple life we were talking about. God’s simple life involves realigning your life to mirror His plan.
It’s time you looked at your list of needs and removed the wants that have become necessities in your mind, set new priorities for your time, and realize that God blesses His children with things so we can be used as His extended hands to help those who really are in need. We challenged the camp students to go home and “keep it simple”. Serve God, look for what He is doing, and be involved. “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met” (Matt. 6:33). It’s time for all of us to live the simple life.