Monday, March 26, 2007

Simple Hearts

I was part of a great conversation this morning with some of the pastors, leaders and elders of our church on the subject of simplicity. I was reminded of several good statements that helps us in this regard. The Psalms declare that "The LORD protects the simplehearted" (Psalm 116:6, NIV). The idea in the Hebrew here is that a simple heart is a heart that wants one thing, focused in its pursue of God.

Richard Foster defines simplicity, in his book by the same title, in the following way: "The Christian Discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style. Both the inward and the outward aspects of simplicity are essential. We deceive ourselves if we believe we can possess the inward reality without it's having a profound effect on how we live. And to attempt to arrange an outward life-style of simplicity without the inward reality leads to deadly legalism. Experiencing the inward reality liberates us outwardly. Speech becomes truthful and honest. The lust for status and position is gone because we no longer need them. We cease from showy extravagance not on the grounds of being unable to afford it, but on the grounds of principle. Our goods become available to others." Foster highlight several very important aspects of the Christian discipline of simplicity, in particular the connection between simplicity and holiness, charity and wholeness.

Francios Fenelon echoes this sentiment when he writes that, "...when we are truly in this interior simplicity our whole appearance is franker, more natural. This true simplicity...makes us conscious of a certain openness, gentleness, innocence, gaiety, and serenity, which is charming when we see it near to and continually, with pure eyes. O, how amiable this simplicity is! Who will give it to me? I leave all for this. It is the Pearl of the Gospel."

What would Christian Leadership rooted in simplicity looks like?