As I continue to seek ways to simplify my life, I’m amazed at how complex it continues to grow. There seems to be a never-ending flow of demands on my time, opportunities to pursue, and responsibilities with which to engage. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess your experience is similar. We are a busy generation of humans. As I often tell my team at work, being busy is not synonymous with being productive.
I fear many of us have allowed our lives to become so busy we cannot be productive for the Kingdom. We’re so consumed with the fleeting things of this world we are missing out on the great eternal work left to be done.
No matter how often we try and simplify our lives, it appears clutter has a way of finding its way back. It’s maddening, but we must be ever vigilant to keep the busyness out of our lives and focus on what is important. Take a quick inventory of your life; are you too busy to be productive in your pursuit of building His Kingdom? Are you perhaps so busy doing what you think is kingdom building work you haven’t taken the time to step back and see if it is the right work to be doing?
Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I had a front row seat to observe the busyness of the local church. I also got to witness a lot of wasted effort and a work serving no real purpose other than to make people feel good about what they were doing. What we all need to do is take a hard look at everything with which we are involved. How much of it genuinely could be classified as God-honoring and Kingdom-building? We’ve got to jettison those things not fitting into either of those categories.
Time is the most finite resource we have. It cannot be renewed, expanded, or extended. We have what we have, and what we have is less every second of the day. We’re all running out of time, and we’re all wasting a tremendous quantity of it. The answer, I believe, is to simplify. What are the essentials in our lives? God is the only One who matters. Following His commands should be our sole purpose. Note, following His commands means taking care of our families and doing work to pay our necessary expenses (1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). This is not a call to neglect or slothfulness.
The call to simplify is a call to strip away everything from our lives not glorifying to God. It’s a call to live with intention at all times. This isn’t impossible, but it will be difficult until we build the discipline to do it into our lives. The primary challenge to live with intentional focus is our own selfishness. We would rather pile convenience and comfort into our lives than simplify. Herein lies the decision. If Jesus is Lord of your life, your life will only contain those things, relationships, and activities which are pleasing to Him. If He’s not Lord to you, your life will be busy and cluttered with things having no right to be in His presence. While uncomfortable, that’s the hard truth. The next step is yours. Will you simplify your life?