This month, we would like to share a message called — Simplicity
Life is busy and oftentimes it can feel like one big juggling act. There are bills to pay, jobs to work, problems to solve, ventures to plan, etc…Life can become so overwhelming people forget the necessary things and miss out on the better portion.
The Necessary: A great example of focusing on the necessary is found when Jesus speaks with Martha and Mary. “Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” — Luke 10:38–42. This is a very interesting scripture because one would reasonably sympathize with Martha who is doing all the serving, yet, Jesus points out that her worrying and bothered nature, even though performed as a courtesy for her guest, is not good and takes her focus from what is necessary. On the other hand, Mary was fixated on the words of Jesus and receiving what mattered. The example in this scripture is — you can busy yourself for what you think are the right reasons, but still miss the big picture. A lot of what people do in life is for the right reasons, but it ends up having the opposite results. For example, a person who works extra long hours and sacrifices spending quality time with their family, does so, in their reasoning, because they care for their loved ones and want to provide. However, by working extra they are sacrificing quality connections through their absence. This is a paradox and similar to Martha’s reasoning. A wise person should judge what is necessary and unnecessary and like Mary choose the good part.
Heart and Treasure: Without a purpose or clear goals, you will find yourself distracted by short-term activities. However, simply making external changes won’t last long if your heart’s not in it. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” — Matthew 6:21. You first need to know exactly what you’re running towards. Where is your heart? Take a step back and examine yourself. If your heart is in missions, then you will find it impossible to not be a missionary. If it is in teaching the Word, then you will feel an irresistible pull to be a teacher. If it’s for a specific type of work, then you will find yourself pursuing that path. Regardless of what it is, wherever the treasure is, your heart will be there also. Remember, everything you have in life is a result of what you truly treasure.
Simplicity, Purpose, and Sacrifice: True simplicity is doing less of what matters least. Once you have a real purpose installed in your life the necessary things become first and foremost, while needless distractions take a back seat. Yet today, a large number of people claim to be in limbo and without a true purpose. One of the most common complaints in the modern-day church sounds like this, “I don’t know what my purpose is. I just wish God would show me.” The problem with a person who says such a thing is that they don’t recognize their purpose because their purpose is currently focused on unnecessary distractions. These distractions might be for material possession, social status, or some other cause, but regardless, their heart is elsewhere. It’s very childish to blame God for a lack of purpose, instead, such a person should look inward and truly ask themselves if they are willing to make a sacrifice. Because that’s what a purpose takes — sacrifice. How can you have a purpose in being a missionary if you aren’t willing to leave your friends, family, and material possessions behind for some time? How can you start that business if you aren’t willing to put in the extra work it takes to get it off the ground? How can you accomplish the things the Lord has called you to if you are unwilling to sacrifice the unnecessary distractions? “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” — Luke 16:13.
Inward Change = Outward Results: When your life-focus changes you will see outward results. We can only speak from our experience, but when we made our commitment to the life of missions 24-years ago a lot in our life changed. We sold our possessions, prayed for guidance, and began planning and researching parts of the world we felt called to. Our lives became extremely simplistic and the outward results were astonishing. The sum of our possessions could fit into a backpack. We didn’t care about much else unless it had some relevance to the mission. We valued things like quick-drying shirts, packable rain jackets, underwear that could last a long time, expedition kits, tribal locations of the unreached, or anything that could assist us in the purpose of bringing the Gospel to the most remote regions on earth. These are the things that held value, while everything else became an unnecessary distraction. Even to this day when we buy a new shirt, the first thought we think is…how would this hold up in the jungle or the desert? The best part is, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is simple. We own very little not because we decided to declutter our lives, but because our purpose dictated that it wasn’t necessary. The purpose-filled path we followed shaped who we are inside and out. It is not a common path, but there is no other path we’d choose. Where will your path lead? Be bold and step out in faith. A simple and purpose-filled life awaits.