My recent revival of purging and attempting to simplify my life appears to be contagious. Morgan and I spent several hours this past weekend clearing out our closet, drawers, and the nooks and crannies where we had clothes buried and hidden for that supposed "rainy day" that never seems to come. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? "I've got to keep this Hawaiian shirt in case I somehow get invited to a luau next summer when I might take that trip to Tahiti I've been planning for years but can't afford because I keep wasting my money on crap - like Hawaiian shirts." While much of my argument in my last post for minimalism and simplicity was an aim at removing chaos from our lives, I want to take a very pointed angle on the subject - I want to look at this from the perspective of being a follower of Christ on a lifelong mission. Because when I look at our lives, it doesn't really appear that we're on much of a mission.
In Luke 10:1-12, Jesus sends out seventy-two of his followers to alert the people in the cities and towns that "...the Kingdom of God is near". Before He sends them on their way, He gives them very specific instructions. And part of what He tells them - in contrast to what you would expect to be told in preparation for a journey of this type - speaks volumes: "Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals..." Jesus essentially tells them, "Travel light. Don't take a backpack loaded with things - I'll provide what you need along the way: food, shelter, clothing. Keep your mind on the mission!" And in my perspective, as I examine my own life and the lives of those close to me, this is not a reflection of the approach I seem to have taken for this mission. I have by no stretch of the imagination been "traveling light". My closet, my drawers, my garage, my attic, my refrigerator, and my trunks and totes all speak otherwise. They're an indictment that I can't refute. At least not a week ago. Then I read Becker's intro to Principle #7 in his book, Simplify: "You don't need to chase everything you've always wanted if you already have everything you need." And there you have it.
Reflecting on Matthew 6:25-34, it's obvious that Becker isn't saying anything new - especially to a Christ-follower who has read the Gospels numerous times. Jesus makes it clear: Either you're going to live your life consumed with YOUR mission and everything it requires and demands of you - and walk down the paths where it leads you - OR - you're going to be focused on MY mission...to advance a kingdom of another kind. A Kingdom where God's economy dictates what we have, what we keep, what we hold tightly and loosely, what we give away, and how we live and see this life. And to just put it bluntly, I'm sick and tired of trying to live on mission carrying all this baggage on my back. And if you don't think that all the STUFF crammed in your closet, your drawers, your garage, under your bed, and looming overhead in your attic is weighing you down, I just dare you to spend 1 hour throwing some of it out. Take 1 hour and go through your closet. Empty 3 drawers onto your bed, sort it out, and only keep what you NEED. See what happens. Watch as you begin to feel as though some weighted chain that's been holding you down was suddenly broken. As I said, I'm sick and tired of attempting to live on mission with all this baggage on my back (and in my closet). And whether you know it or not, I bet you're exhausted from it as well.
It's time to simplify. And when you do, KEEP SIMPLIFYING!
It's time to "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (KNOWING THAT WHEN I DO) all these things will be added" to me. He'll take care of me. Do I trust Him? Do you trust Him? Do we trust the Great Provider to provide?
How are you going to simplify? Where are you going to begin?