Are you like me? Do you tend to complicate … everything?
If the car manufacturer says 3,000 miles for oil changes, I’m calculating the effect of extending the recommendation. If someone comes to me with a problem, I’m probing the past and the future, looking for answers. If the recipe calls for certain ingredients, I’m second guessing and pondering substitutions. “Can molasses be replaced with corn syrup?”
I do that with my interactions with people. I overexplain, bringing up depths and angles of issues to ensure understanding. Often, it just complicates the uncomplicated.
Jesus Didn’t Complicate Things
When life is whirring by and information barraging my sensibilities, perhaps I should take a cue from the Master.
He steered clear of religious talk and jargon. He spoke simply and plainly. He found the sinners where they lived and then communicated with them in a language they could understand.
He told the woman at the well that the gospel was like water. He told the fisherman to go make converts, just like fishing. He spoke to farmers about figs and wheat and tares. He spoke to merchants about lost treasures and pearls of great price. He spoke to the military man about spiritual enemies. He spoke to common working men about storing up treasures in heaven. He spoke to children about a Heavenly Father.
Jesus found a way to reach every population group, every demographic, every profession with the simple truth that was tailored to their needs.
Even Jesus’ most ardent critics “were amazed at his words.”
Life is complicated
Our world is complex. It seems with technology, which promised an easier life, has only made it more difficult. We don’t reject this crazy world, instead, we embrace it. Simple seems … simplistic and out of touch.
Randy Newman of the C.S. Lewis Institute wrote, “Many people wonder about the complexities of life and want to explore them. They long to see how seemingly unrelated topics intersect. They are not surprised by mysteries that keep unfolding, revealing more and more levels of wonder.”
Simplicity is so rare that it stops us in our tracks. We do a double take, looking for an explanation.
I love the nuances of Creation, retold in every moment since. The beautiful mystery of the Gospel as it weaves throughout Scripture is stunning. If you study the universe, it’s hard not to be humbled by the scope and beauty of the design. Science can explain the how, but not always the why. The answer is both simple and profound.
Believe and Love
One of the best summaries of our beliefs is found in 1 John 3:23: “This is [God’s] command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another.” This is the salvation message and the Christian life summed up in just a few words.
I’m kind of wondering if that’s the answer.
May my words and deeds be simple.