Monday, March 1, 2010

Plain and Simple

A friend of mine recently asked the question, "What does it mean to live a "plain and simple" life?"

The answer to this question is as varied as people and circumstances are unique. Therefore, I can only answer for myself. Right away, I think of the words "uncomplicated" and "frugal" and "uncluttered". But, there is so much more than that! It is a life which is quiet and unhurried enough to truly walk with God , so that "Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left." (Isaiah 30:21)

A plain and simple life begins with a mindset, not a list of "do's & don'ts". It is not doing away with all modern devices; but rather using the things of this world as tools for serving God and our fellow man. On the other hand, I have noticed that although we have employed many "time and labor-saving" devices (also known as conveniences) , they have not actually contributed to a simpler life, as I defined it for myself, above. People, in general, are more hurried and harried than ever. Personally, I would enjoy a treadle sewing machine; but, I'm sure I would not be as efficient at my sewing projects as I can be with an electric. Therefore, it is simpler to use the electric sewing machine. I like to grind my own wheat; but, am hindered by arthritis. Therefore, the more practical choice is to have someone grind it for me, or use store- bought flour. I'm just using these as examples of when the "plain and simple" life isn't simple. It doesn't automatically translate into everyone having a garden, baking their own bread, milking goats and churning their own butter. While adopting a church prescribed uniform may bring simplicity to our wardrobe choices, that in itself does not constitute a "plain and simple life".

In fact, if all our thoughts and efforts center around being as "plain and simple" as we can be, we have missed the point. (Similar to a dieting person who can think of nothing else but food)

For me, the "plain and simple life" is one that allows me to best serve and love my Lord. The way that I order my life, my priorities, and my choices in order to accomplish that supreme goal, may be considerably different that the way any one else does. Each of us must take the gifts , and the time and place in which He has positioned us, and use what God has given to us to be the best, God-glorifying stewards that we can possibly be in that realm.

A plain and simple life has purpose and direction...simple goals, plain principles, simple solutions, plain prayers, and clear priorities.

Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, (Psalm 27:11)