In a complex world the cry from everyone is for simplicity. As we look at life we are overwhelmed by how hard life appears. We have heard people say how simpler things were years ago. You only had three to four television channels and no remote control. Your choice for dinner was exactly two, what mom made or nothing. Little thought was given for special diets or the desired menu of children. You played outside, you rode bikes, played baseball, kick ball or dodge ball. Nothing was more disappointing than having to come inside. We travelled all around on our bicycles and never feared that someone would take us. It was a simpler day and it is long gone. Now, when shopping you have thirty-nine types of sandwich bread from which to choose. We all have experienced the exponential growth of information. Then there is the media bombardment. Information overload places stress upon society as a whole. What is the answer? Run away and hide, or stick our head in the sand? Before you answer, we also have been swept up in the complexity of our times? Listening to what most people have going on at work, home, children’s activities and the church and other obligations and the many other seemingly endless commitments. What is the answer? If we are going to live a simple life we must be intentional. Life and the events that come with it have a way of expanding.
Back to basics seems the right place to start. To arrive at simple, we must begin with basics. What does it take to offload complexities? We have to understand what is foundational. The invitations of Jesus is a good way to explore the power of simple. Jesus said to his disciples these words: “Come follow me.” or just simply “follow me.” He did not say reform first, straighten up your life first, He simply said Come follow me.” Though the command is simple, it is not simplistic, for the rest of our lives we will never fully exhaust all that is in that command. Though simple, it will take eternity to plumb the depths of meaning contained in Christ’s invitation. On another occasion Jesus overheard the disciples squabbling over who was the greatest, and Jesus forever redefined greatness: it is not power, position, or prestige, it is, said Jesus: “who ever humbles themselves and becomes like a child will be great.” Rarely, would one attempt to define greatness by saying become like a child. Yet, that is exactly what Jesus said about greatness. Walk into any library or bookstore and you will see that there are scores of shelves filled with books on leadership. Jesus picked up a basin of water and washed his disciples feet, and showed us what a leader looks like, they are first a servant. The more I reflect upon the simple commands and illustrations of Jesus, the more I understand why we gravitate toward the complicated. Complication gives us the sense that we are accomplishing something. The commands of Jesus require total and absolute commitment and surrender. A return to the simple will not simplify our lives, it may complicate our lives. What if I don’t want to go where following Him leads me? What if I don’t want to humble myself as a child? What if I don’t want to serve my brothers and sisters? I can always escape to the complicated and seek to ignore the simple and plain commands of Christ. The commands of Christ bring us liberty and freedom. Two wonderful things that would go a long way to simplifying our lives.