Have just started reading Richard Foster's Freedom from Simplicity. Will post some thoughts chapter by chapter.
Chapter 1 - The Complexity of Simplicity
Simplicity helps us to see material things for what they are - goods to enhance life, not to opress life. People become more important than posessions.
1. Simplicity is both a grace and a discipline.
2. Simplicity both easy and difficult.
3. Simplicty is both an inner reality and an outwardlifestyle.
4. Simplicty affirms both the goodness and the limitation of material things.
Misery also arises when people try to make a life out of provision. While it is an essential ingredient in the good life, it is by no means the only ingredient, nor is it even the most important one. So often the biblical teaching on provision has been taken and twisted into a doctrine of gluttonous prosperity. All the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, coaxing to 'love Jesus and get rich' reflects our failure to see the biblical limitation on things. Incarnated in our theology are covetous goals under the guise of the promises of God. And the interesting thing about all these little gimmicks to blessedness is that they work; they really do work. That is, they work if what we want is a little money; but if we desire the abundance which God gives, they fail.
My major takeways...
I've been reflecting on and attempting to live a simple life for a number of years now. Opening this book and reading the first chapter reminded me again how easy it is to slip into the pursuit of material possesions, wealth, and accumulation, even when you think you are trying to live contrary to those pursuits.
We have to live intentionally in life otherwise we just get pulled along and caught up in the same rat race as everyone else, not realising that God offers a totally different way to live.
I also appreciated thinking of simplicity as both and inward reality and an outward life style. A simple, relaxed, peaceful, at ease, content, inner world is an awesome way to live life. As we chose to trust God, practice Sabbath, learn to let go, and develop faith, its amazing the sense off peace that is inwardly possible and its incredible effects on the way we interact with the world!