We are busy people; always running here and there, schedule bound, maintenance leaning, hamster wheel-running people. We often have cluttered minds, live in cluttered houses, and have cluttered lives. Much of the vacation industry is built on our desire to escape this daily obstacle course, and remove ourselves from the constant pull of our often self-induced obligations.
But were we really called to this way of life? When did we decide that more is better, and much is best? At what point did we start believing that we are bound to it the way we think we are? When were we persuaded that our worth is wrapped up in the bells and whistles of this life and not in our relationship with Christ?
The Psalmist wrote, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.” (27:4). One thing, just one thing he wanted – to seek after, and dwell with the Lord. Now that is simply living!
Am I saying that we should sell everything, ignore our obligations and move into a church building permanently? Of course not. We have family and work obligations that we must fulfill (1 Tim. 5:8, Pro. 6:10-12, 14:23, 1 Thess. 4:11-12, Eph. 4:28, 6:7 etc.). But what it does indicate to me is that our focus, our one desire, our relationship with the living God should trump it all.
We spend so much of our time maintaining things that have no lasting value, working hard for things which will only satisfy for a short while, and pursuing pleasure like it were the ultimate goal of this life, that there is little time to know God. What if Jesus looking at you, loving you, said to you like He said to the rich young ruler, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”(Mark 10:21) What if He did? Could we do it? Could we leave it all behind and follow Him? Do we even know Him enough to want to? Could we really be content with just food and clothing? (1 Tim. 6:8)
Perhaps we identify more with Martha–running about with obligations frantically driving her to anger and resentment, while Mary, instead of helping her, sat at Jesus’ feet. What if the words He said to her He said to us? “You are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
So, now what? We identify with both the rich young ruler and Martha. What can we do? The answer to a simplified life is, of course, simple. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”. (Matt 6:33) We need to find our worth and our desire in Him alone, and let Him provide anything else that is needed.
Today, let us begin afresh in Christ. “Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”(Heb. 12:1-2) Let us ask the Lord to show us every hindrance to our walk with Him, and to help us release our grip. Let us no longer bow down to gods of our own making, and taskmasters who relentlessly whip. Let us chase after Christ, in freedom and purity.
Let us be encouraged by the Word of God when it says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:12-14)