Wanting to be useful...
The question was asked : You advocate that living simply is the best way to live, but how do you live simply? It’s a good question and I am glad that it was asked. I will endeavour to answer it, simply. Just the other day there was an event on my lawn that brought such a laugh and it was simply so special and set the mood for the day. I heard the hadeda on my lawn behaving strangely. Wings flapping, then dropping back down, with his usual loud hah! I peered out through the window and the scene was hilarious and may help you to understand what living simply could mean.
My rescue cat, Missy – the most beautiful rescue cat on earth – was crouching at the edge of the lawn, facing the hadeda. She was in full ‘I will get you’ position. Ears down, body low down, swaying slightly from side to side, getting her balance right and ready to pounce. Now, we all know that hadeda’s are big birds when compared to sparrows and other little brown jobs. So, this picture was so comical. Really Missy, are you kidding yourself? You want to pounce a hadeda? Bigger and faster than yourself? But the very look on her face and her intense concentration and focus gave the answer. Yes! What made this scene so fabulous was that mister hadeda seemed to be enjoying this moment. He would rise, and come back down, rise and come back down. He was playing a game and I am almost sure that I noticed a mischievous gleam in his eye. Missy would take note of the change in his place on the lawn and simply re-focus her position and making her intention plain. But it was inevitable that one of the two would get tired of this. This delightful scene ended with mister hadeda rising into the air with his loud voice of victory. Missy? Well, she simply sat up and got on with her day.
Living simply. Mister hadeda simply remained being mister hadeda, he did not choose to suddenly become a crow or an eagle! Missy simply remained being Missy, one who on a rare occasion goes back to ‘I can hunt if I must’ cat behaviour. Missy never catches birds, but she is still a cat and she likes pretend games. She is also confident now and proved that she would even tackle a ‘giant’ if she had to. But she did not suddenly want to become a Rottweiler or a leopard. She is a cat. She is content being Missy the cat. The two had fun by simply being who they are. You will have fun and enjoy your life if you can just be you.
It reminded me of this question : So, how do you live simply? As always the Bible gives the best answer. “Look at the birds of the air …. Consider the lilies of the field …. (Matthew 6 : 26 and 28) Jesus taught this truth. Lilies simply are! Birds simply are! The recipe is quite simply - focus. We move from focusing on our spiritual growth to concentrating on our Father in heaven. He is the source. He knows our circumstances and our strengths and our weaknesses and if we simply focus on Him we will grow spiritually and simply be. Be what? His child, His follower, His vessel. Such a focused life will mould us and it will shape us. Most of us want to talk, talk, talk. Most of us want to show, show, show. Well, there is a simpler way to living.
Think for a moment, and continue to think about this, about the stars, the sea, the sun, the moon – all of these simply are. But, oh my goodness, what a ministry and what a service they render! They simply remain being what they are for us to see the majesty of God. They remain consistent and they remain true to their role. Lilies, birds, sun, stars remain and yet they can help to mould and shape us – if we will follow their example and simply be. Not talking and showing ourselves to impress. We simply are His. We simply are content to be His. What on earth is all the toiling and spinning about? Seek Him, He will add.
Most who read these blogs will want to be useful to God. The best way to do this is to maintain a proper relationship with Jesus Christ. It really is that simple. Stay focused on Him and He will use you every minute of every day of your life – you will mostly be unaware of your influence and light, but you will be used. Personally, I think that we can impair God’s designed influence, that which He desires to exhibit through us, by applying our own self-made conscious efforts to be ‘useful’. To be better than so and so. To be like so and so. To have more than they. To have bigger than them. Simple living, is living a life where your focus and concentration is on God alone. The rest will flow from you like “rivers of living water” (John 7 : 38).
So, live simply and enjoy your journey.