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Week 6 – The Discipline of Simplicity

I’d like to start this week’s entry by apologizing profusely for taking so long to post (it’s been weeks), but I just re-read my last post and that’s how I started that one. So I’ll instead say thank you. Thank you for bearing with me as I get sidetracked with things that seem to make me too busy to continue this study. I’m not too busy. We’re all busy, but none of us are too busy to dig deeper into the beautiful Christian faith. So here we are again. Let’s jump back in. 

Simplicity. Yikes. That’s something we don’t like to talk about in the USA. This country is all about climbing the ladder, making more, saving more, doing more, right? Sounds great, but what do we do with verses that tell us not to store up treasures on earth?

I read the book of Haggai last week, and here’s a striking verse I came across:
“‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways… You looked for much, and behold, it came to little.  Why? declares the LORD of hosts.  Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house’”(Haggai 1:7-9).

God tasks the governor and high priest of Judah to have their people rebuild the Lord’s temple instead of worrying so much about their own houses.

Houses are necessary, money is not evil, and things are not bad. It’s how we use houses and money and things that can get us into trouble. I can think of a number of wealthy friends who are incredibly generous with the material blessings they have. They give freely to those in need, and are never flashy or showy with their possessions. But of course there are plenty of folks (pointing at me) who, whether or not they have the money, buy loads of frivolous things.

It’s all about where we place our priorities. This chapter has helped me refocus on what’s really important. It’s reminded me that while it might not be wrong to buy the next thing-I-didn’t-know-I-needed-but-now-I-can’t-live-without, I might actually be able to live without it.

Questions below from Foster’s study guide.  Let’s discuss!

-Josh

Study Questions

1) In one paragraph, attempt to set forward the biblical teaching on possessions.
2) What is the greatest danger in setting forth an outward expression to Christian simplicity? Why must we take the risk?
3) Which of the ten controlling principles for outward simplicity is the most helpful to you? Are there any you feel are unrealistic?
4) List one thing you could do this week to simplify your life. Do it.

Daily Scripture Readings
Sunday: Simplicity as singleness of heart / Matthew 6:19-24
Monday: Simplicity as trust / Matthew 6:25-34
Tuesday: Simplicity as obedience / Genesis 15
Wednesday: The generosity of simplicity / Leviticus 25:8-12
Thursday: Simplicity in speech / Matthew 5:33-37, James 5:12
Friday: Simplicity and justice / Amos 5:11-15, 24, Luke 4:16-21
Saturday: The freedom from covetousness / Luke 12:13-34

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