I love simple. Everything I own fits in the back of a small U-Haul truck with plenty of space left over. Still, about twice a year, I go through my apartment just looking for things to throw away to keep life simple and clutter free.
When I was a kid I loved Taco Bell. Back then they had 7 items on the menu board, and that was all I needed. I would choose the bean burrito. Today I walk into a Taco Bell, and their menu board is all cluttered, and confusing with so many new items offered. I still choose the bean burrito. I love simple.
I recently switched my homepage to Google. It is simple and not too busy like the other search engines. I love simple. Having a complicated life is not a status symbol to me and does not allure me.
Understanding how I love simple, you will understand how delighted I was when I discovered a concept I read in John 15:5. In the NIV I read, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit…” . Actually what delighted me is what I did not discover. Jesus was not telling me that I needed a complicated, long planned out program and agenda in order to bear much fruit. It was really quite simple actually. I just need to live with Jesus and I will automatically bear fruit. Wow. What a concept!
It reminded me of when I came home from College in the Spring of 1985. One Friday evening a friend from church called, and told me a couple of other friends were meeting at one of their homes to study the Sabbath School lesson, and asked me to join them. One of them brought their sister, who was not a baptized Adventist. There was no agenda or schedule set in stone for our small study group. It was not even an “official” small study group. We just hung out together and studied the lesson, socialized, and even started hanging out on Saturday nights with a pizza, and/or movie or bowling. A few months later my friend’s sister was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist church. It wasn’t complicated. All we needed was to be living in Christ, in His word, and we bore fruit.
We don’t need a lot of complicated man-made programs when “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.” (Ellen White, Gospel Workers, p. 363) How simple!
Simple does not mean there is no plan or method. It simply means the plan and method is simple.
“There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit.” (Ellen White, Gospel Workers, p. 363)
Here I would like to add another word to “Simple.” Practical. Jesus’ method was simple and practical. When I go to Taco Bell, I don’t need a mumbo jumbo burrito with a million toppings on it. It just isn’t practical. A simple bean burrito is practical for me. Jesus spent most of His time, simply meeting the needs of the people. Most of His ministry was spent in simple one-on-one impromptu encounters like the woman at the well or the woman taken adultery. Whenever He did preach a sermon it was not a deep theological dissertation. It was simple and practical, and also brief.
I love the simplicity of Jesus in John 15:5, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.” One morning when I awoke, I picked up my Bible to read and spend time with Jesus. As soon as I started reading, I began to think to myself, “How can you just sit here and read when you need to see that church member in the hospital, and follow up on these leads for Bible studies, and plan that seminar that is coming up.” I could barely relax and read my Bible, thinking of all the things I needed to do, but I knew it was important to spend time with Jesus so I made myself do it. I wanted to abide in Him. Later when I got to the hospital, I prayed with the lady I had come to see, and as I left, the lady in the next bed, asked me to pray with her too. I prayed with her, and shared a verse and some comforting words God gave me to share with her. I gave her my number if she needed anything else and invited her to my church when she got out. Impromtu and simple, yet fruitful.
I love simple!