Thursday, January 03, 2008

Greater Simplicity

I've realised that I haven't completed a series of posts I started in November on the 3 main aims I saw from greater community living. They were Authentic Mission, Increased Generosity and at last now the aim of Greater Simplicity.

Simplicity can seem a mile away in the aftermath of the Christmas season when our accumulation of stuff as well as debt has gone steeply up.

Simplicity, first of all though is not the order of our lives but the order of our hearts. It comes from first of all knowing what we are living for, and as a Christian that means primarily following Christ with our eyes firmly fixed on living out the two great commandments to 'Love God' and 'love neighbour'. This is what gives me my primary purpose and calling as a Christian. It is a universal, for whatever else may change the requirement to do these two things does not.

I may worry or wonder about many other things that I might do with my life or time or energy or resources but instead I should give more of all the above to living out these two crystal clear things that Jesus gave us to do. When it comes to following Christ the requirement is simplicity itself for on these two things, everything else hangs.

This simplicity of heart can bring simplicity of thinking and focus if we let it, setting a framework of freedom for our lives and releasing us to fulfil our potential.

It would seem strange then if that simplicity didn't filter on down to the level of our possessions, if we are indeed giving ourselves to love god and loving people, seeing us building community and sharing in authentic mission as the people of God, taking the opportunity to be generous to our brothers and sisters and to those in need both near and far away that it that it didn't result in a reduction of stuff and a greater simplicity in our lives.

These aims go hand in hand, if I reduce the amount of things I need and stuff I want my opportunity to be generous increases, if my heart yearns for the opportunity to give more than I am currently I may think about 'selling what I have and giving to the poor.' Listening to the God I love with all that I am may well lead to similar things happening.

In the end, I am sated and bloated by possessions, I buy them, insure them, protect them, care for them and repair them, then I throw them away and replace or upgrade them. All around me are hearts and souls alone, waiting for someone to protect, heal, and provide care for them. One will reap rewards into future generations and the other will disappear about roughly the same time I do. So why is something so simple, so hard to do?


Unknown on 11 January 2008 at 17:42 said...

Good thoughts as ever Phil. It reminds me of Thoreau's famous quote, "Simplify, simplify." And your comment about the link to generosity is a really valid point.

Phil Whittall on 11 January 2008 at 18:13 said...

Thanks for the encouragement Simon, always appreciated! I think because we live in a society founded on the accumulation of stuff that an 'opposite' spirit so to speak would be with Thoreau and would constantly be simplifying but also increasing in generosity! Happy New Year to you...

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