Keep it simple stupid!
For most of us, that little thought has about as much relevance in our lives as say the price of “tea in China.” Sounds like an interesting topic, but in reality it’s something we know absolutely nothing about. Tonight, I got the bright idea of counting the number of remote controls in my house. It was a little amazing to me to see that we have eight (five in the living room, two in one bedroom and 1 in the other). Why so many? Seriously, couldn’t one do the trick? Somehow in our society, we’ve managed to complicate everything. We talk about simplifying our lives, but if my own life is any indication, it’s really something we just give lip service to.
Recently a group of friends and I were sitting around discussing our various personality traits. It was pretty quickly noted that I am the king of complicating everything. I can turn the simplest task into the most complicated. I can turn the telling of a short story into a three hour monologue. I have to ask a bazillion questions, making certain that every last little nuance has been covered. I complicate the heck out of things. That’s just who I am! Interestingly enough, out of the group of us that sat in this circle, we found two who really live KISS. If someone tells them they are loved, they accept it at face value. They don’t see the need in trying to dig around to find the “real” reason behind it. They don’t need a lot of reaffirmation in their lives. The simple things drive them.
In thinking about simplicity, I came across an old Appalachian folk song…
‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free.
‘Tis a gift to come round to where we ought to be.
And when we find a place that feels just right,
We will be in the valley of love and delight.
Perhaps true delight and happiness eludes us because we are so busy making life complicated. Many people struggle with finding God in their lives because they can’t grasp the simplicity of the gift of his love. If it weren’t so sad, it would be humorous the way we make loving God so difficult. In the scriptures we find that there was a group of religious leaders who were continually creating rules regarding how the little people were supposed to live. They made life complicated. Interestingly enough, I see a correlation between the religious leaders of antiquity and some today.
In the Gospels we find the retelling of an event that reminds us of the simplicity of life. One of the teacher’s of the law during Jesus’ time asked Him what was needed to inherit eternal life. Jesus answered with a question, asking the scholar what the law said. In Luke 10:27, the scholar answered:
That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence – and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.
Jesus answered by saying that if one followed this simple instruction the result would be life, in fact, one of the gospels records Jesus as saying that there was absolutely no commandment greater than this. This scholar was apparently like most of us, looking for a loophole and a way to complicate things. He couldn’t accept the simplicity of the commandment. Surely there must be more. I, like so many of us, can totally relate.
Perhaps, if we would learn to simplify our lives just a little bit, we might find we would be much more fulfilled and happy. We were created to give love to God. I wonder if we might find that by loving Him with every part of ourselves, allowing His love to fill us, then loving all those around us with that same kind of love, our lives might just be filled to overflowing with every good thing. I have a sneaking feeling that the folk singers from the Appalachian mountains got it right…
“tis a gift to be simple…”