Is Simplicity Complex?
I really enjoy books…complex, simple, hardbound, or otherwise. Some books are classics, like Richard Foster’s Freedom of Simplicity. I believe Foster speaks clearly to the yearning of many of those our ministries attempt to serve – so I share a few brief thoughts with you.
A central theme of the book is that there is freedom in simplicity. Is there any doubt that some simplicity in the midst of our hurried, activity-filled, possession-overloaded, cell-phoned, texted, and snap chatted lives would be welcomed and freeing? Let’s just live a simple life!
Aha, but Foster points out that simplicity is not simple. There is far more to it than the outward manifestation. The outward lifestyle must reflect an inward reality. Otherwise the whole concept (and indeed our teaching of stewardship) becomes legalism… give this much, save that much, have this lifestyle and presto, a new pharisaism. That’s why Good $ense teachings emphasize the Biblical foundation and a grace-filled approach. It is heart change – transformation – that is the ultimate goal and it is in the soil of heart change that the techniques and behaviors we teach take permanent root.
When the inward transformation occurs and one realizes their worth comes from being the beloved son or daughter of God and not the trappings promoted by the “pull of the culture,” then seeking first the Kingdom of God can become reality. This simplified (but not easy!) approach to life empowers us to divest ourselves of the unnecessary things that so clutter our lives and which, because of their demands upon us, often own us rather than our owning them.
And then, when we no longer have to care for, worry about, protect, and fight over those things we no longer have, we are free to devote our time and energy to what Jesus said was the first and greatest commandment – loving relationship to God, others and self. And when that occurs and the kingdom of God is genuinely placed first, not only our personal finances but macro issues like ecological concerns, the poor, and global war and famine will be given their proper attention.
So, fellow stewardship leaders, let’s be sure that as we teach the outward manifestations of good money management (be generous, save, get out of consumer debt…) we do so in the context of heart transformation.
If you would like hear stories of transformation in person, fellowship with others on this stewardship journey, and receive a special offer from our newest stewardship champion, Estate Planning Ministry, you might want to join our annual Good $ense Vision night on April 21. Register now as spots are filling up.
Good $ense Movement
Transforming Finances! Transforming Lives!