Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Simple or Complex?

I listened to the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts the other day. It is a beautiful hymn, but I really hadn’t paid attention to the words before. As I listened to the very talented singer singing those words, it struck me how much it worships simplicity. People worship so many things, but it is God that we ought to worship. People work at so many religious things. For the Shakers that thing appears to be simplicity. The claim of the hymn seems to be that if we can achieve simplicity then everything else will fall into place. But that isn’t what the Bible says. The Bible says that we are to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to us. As far as I know, God has never required anyone to be simple before they can approach him.

What God does require is that we be righteous, but it isn’t righteousness that we can work at and gain. It is okay to be complicated instead of simple. It is okay to have stuff as long as we don’t worship the stuff rather than the person who created the stuff. Likewise, if you really want to simplify your life and get rid of your stuff, that is okay too, as long as you are not doing that so you don’t have to rely on God to provide.