Our Quest for Simplicity

 

2Simplicity. When first reading that word, I had to laugh at the irony of how complicated a concept it is. Is simplicity converting to minimalism? Is it a quiet heart? Is it the childhood world of little-to-no responsibility? Is it contentment? It all depends on the context, but it could be all of this (and more!).

The idea of a simple life sometimes sounds like a fable straight from the walking paths of Eden, especially when we are knee-deep in the trenches of life post-Fall. Our responsibilities make demands, our families need ministering to, our paychecks need worked for, our yards need mowing, our houses need cleaned, our stomachs need fed, our students need taught, our friendships need cultivating, and it goes on and on. So much of life’s complexities are rooted in the most basic of our human needs! Our jobs provide homes, food, clothes, etc. Social media and social functions are our attempts to satisfy our need for community. The endless forms of entertainment fulfill our bottomless pit of hunger to be…well, entertained! And even as we heap upon ourselves more scattered busyness, each of us yearn for simplicity. For rest.

When contemplating the answer to our quest for simplicity, my heart turned to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6…

“…your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8

“Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:31-33

In an Old Testament world, Jesus has redeemed us into New Testament people. He has changed Adam’s curse of complicated, tiresome work and given us the simplicity of one command: Just seek the kingdom and the righteousness of God. Seek Him first, and all our needs—provisional, communal, and even our pleasure—will be provided for. If we rest in the work Jesus has done in our place, all the things we strive after will be satisfied in Himself.

“Christ has lifted the curse of work. He has replaced anxious toil with trust in God’s promise to supply our needs (Philippians 4:19) and has thus awakened in us a different passion in our work. We turn with joy to the call of Jesus: Seek the kingdom of God first and his righteousness…” -John Piper

I’m relieved and thankful that simplifying my life isn’t found in “100 Easy Steps”. Jesus is my simplicity. Seeking Him will cause all the complicated things to either fall into their proper place, or fall away completely (thus indicating their necessity at all). I’m in awe of a profoundly simple truth: that the more we “strive” after Him, the more we will find that His easy yoke and light burden is the means for our rest in Him (Matt. 11:29).

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