Chapter 4 - Simplicity Among the Saints
For the Dessert Fathers and Mothers the world, including the church, had become so dominated by secular materialism that, for them, the only witness against it was to withdraw from it.
Celibacy is necessary for some forms of simplicity. Francis could not have done what he did if he had not been single. Nor could Jesus.
The Quakers chose simplicity in their attire, in speech, in vigorously opposing injustice and oppression.
These early 'Publishers of Truth,' as they called themselves, too with utter seriousness the task of hearing the voice of Christ and obeying his word. They would ask,'What does it mean to live faithful lives in our day?' and they fully expected to receive an answer.
We who live in a world of half truths and rationalizations and intellectual gymnastics that keep us from hearing and obeying the word of Christ need to hear the witness of the Friends. Because we live in a different culture, we must ask once again what it means to live faithful lives in our day. But we must ask fully expecting to receive an answer and fully expecting to be given the power to obey the call.
J. Hudson Taylor - 'Butter, milk, and other luxuries I cease to use, and found that by living mainly on oatmeal and rice with occasional variations a very small sum was sufficient for my needs. In this way he was able to use two thirds of his income for other purposes. He wrote, 'My experience is that the less I spent on myself and the more I gave to others the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become.'
My major takeaways...
Simplicity is not something new in the 21st Century. Even in the first century Christians were choising to live simple lives in order that their affections would be set firmly on Jesus and in order that they might better help the poor and the needy. That being the case, how much more the need for simplicity in the 21st Century!?! How would the saints respond to the extravigences of life that we posses today?
Butter and milk were once considered luxuries. Would we class them as that today? Many in the world would.
What do you consider luxury items? What do you consider nessasary? What is extravegent? What is enough? What do you have to have to live? What can you do without?
I find that the more I journey with the Holy Spirit, the more I practice simplicity as a discipline, and the more I think of others and their needs, the more my answers today are not what they were yesterday.