Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Peace of Simplicity

For some time now I have been wondering how it is that as a believer, I sought out so many other avenues of how to find peace and freedom from want, than in Christianity. The reason is quite simple actually....there are hardly any, if any at all, men of God out there preaching simplicity. I didn't find a shepherd to lead me. Yes, I know the Bible well, but I needed a fresh approach to the subject of simplicity, and some guidance. Recently, I purposely listened to 10 major modern preachers on television and radio to hear just what is being preached to the masses, especially now in a time of such economic upheaval. Sad to say a good percentage of the "sermons" were on how God will make us prosperous according to the worlds standards. I did a search on the preachers I listened to and found that most of them lived in mansions, some had private jets and all had on amazingly expensive suits. Not a one led a simple, humble life. Messed up children, divorces, questionable financial dealings and the like. Most of them had lives that could mirror some of the full of drama reality shows. It was obvious that they didn't want to be preaching about humility for so many reasons. Not much food for the ego in that. There wasn't anyone that was preaching on the peace that comes from being filled with a contentment that comes from walking in the simple shoes of the Master. By comparison, there are people flocking to new age gurus that are teaching the peace found in not being attached to all the material things in life, but to have hearts filled with something so much stronger than "stuff". These modern gurus speak of contentment in a way that makes you want that too. Why is it that preachers of today are not sharing that same truth, since it is the truth of Jesus.
How is it that simplicity of life, the contentment and inner peace, and the sacrifice of true Christian brotherhood are left out of so many sermons in church ? Is it the preachers are too afraid they will offend those that put money in the offering plate ? Or is it that they may just convict themselves that change is needed in order to live a humble simple life like Christ did ?
One has only to look at these words of Jesus to know that simplicity was his message to us.

Matt 6:19 “Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal;
6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don’t break through and steal;
6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matt 6:25 Therefore, I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
6:26 See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they?
6:27 “Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan?
6:28 Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin,
6:29 yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these.
6:30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith?
Matt 11:28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.
11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls.
11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


Hollow Bone Dream said...

I sooo agree w/ you..
This is one of the reason's why I left the Church.. there's more to it but this was one of the big ones..

Now that I'm coming back I'm finding out that a person can be Christian but not what I've grew up with..
I found Quakerism and it has been a true blessing.. :)

Denise in TN

Deanna said...

Excellent post! I'd much rather read your "sermons" than listen to anyone on television. Preach on...I'm listening.

Lisa said...

Amen Pat! I'm tired of preachers preaching like you describe and tired of church groups spending millions on their buildings, their vehicles, the salaries they pay. Even in the small town close to here (year round population is 20,000 or less) one denomination built a HUGE church for something like $4 million. I think they had recently drawn up plans to expand but may have put those on hold. Ridiculous, just ridiculous. Lisa in NM

Anonymous said...

Patty, I agree with you! I have struggled with these same sentiments for several years now. Seems everywhere you go they are preaching some "Feel Good" sermon. People, seems now days more than ever, need to hear the good old fashioned Gospel. Maybe even a little fire & brimstone. My mama grew up either a Puritan or a Quaker, I can't remember which, and if I could find a church like those I might just come away from church feeling filled with the Spirit. I hope you find a teacher who is on Fire for the Lord instead of money hungry!

Grace & Peace

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Your photography is so beautiful, Patty! I love it.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

And a postscript about your words, since I was first just blown away by the beautiful images.........

I am a searcher and a pilgrim myself and I also wonder why so many churches that are evangelizing do miss the message of Christ. There is such a focus on politics and on end of the world stuff. So little attention to what Jesus said we should be doing.

I don't want to judge, but I think it is perhaps because many of them are demagogues and it is easier to whip up the passions of their audience with what they are saying than with the gentle loving words of Christ, who seems to be getting lost in the oratory. And that is a true tragedy.

Ping said...

Patty, you said it so well! We work with the people of the third world country where they want to have as much 'stuff' as the people in the west. I don't blame them as they see preachers, teachers like how you described them have. You're right where's the living humbly but still OK to enjoy the things you have with contentment? Love your simplicity!

Melanie said...

Patty, I'm not going to say what religion I belong to, as I don't want to start a religious debate on your page, of course, but I just wanted to say that we (as a group/faith) don't have a paid is the baptized men (Brothers) who give the sermons. And our church is small & simple & plain. We are there to study the Bible & to worship God & that should be our main focus, right? We don't even "have to" take up a collection or pass around a collection plate; we have no bills except for the utilities on the bldg.

Anyway, as always, I love your words of wisdom, your quiet way of living, your love for your family, & your beautiful photography. God bless you.


aimee said...

One of your best posts! I so agree-Christ did not teach the prosperity 'gospel' we hear today. Well said & TY for saying it!

Carole said...

This is a really interesting post. Something I have been thinking about myself for a long time.
In my humble opinion, more than a matter of religion, it is a matter of wisdom ; which can be found in Christianity, Muslims, Buddhism, Hinduism, animism, you name it. When you talk about the people you would want to follow, names like Gandhi or Mother Theresa came to my mind. Such people don't exist anymore nowadays, or do they ? Who are the ones brought forward as an example to today's youth ?
There are people out there, who are wise and are people of good will (but we don't know about them because they are not in the news ?) and they are not necessarily Christians. Does it mean one has to throw the baby with the bath water ? Of course not, I guess that one has to be all the more cautious to spot the Merchants of the Temple who want to use spirituality to make money. Which as we know from the Bible, doesn't date back to just yesterday.

Every single night before I go to sleep and every morning before I hop out of bed, the same prayer in on my lips.  Of course I pray for m...