Summary: To show that in order to be close to the Lord, we often must simplify our lives.
-This morning we’re going to get back to our district emphasis of discipleship
-We are seeking to draw closer to the Lord this conference year and learn more of what it means to be his follower and his child
-We’ve looked at the disciplines of rest, silence, solitude and patience
-This morning’s discipline is perhaps especially necessary for us to consider during the season we are in
-We are in the Christmas season
-This means multitudes of shopping
-ILL: Black Friday
-This means myriads of activities
-It amazes me sometimes that we have allowed the baby born on a silent night to bring such hustle and bustle to our lives
-Yet, this morning, I am here to remind us all, you and me alike, that this is not how God would have us lead our lives
-God never intended for our lives to become so complicated
-In fact, His call to us today is a call to a return to simplicity
-Christ’s call to this young man was a call to the simple life
-This wasn’t the fist call he had made of men to enter the simple life
-And Christ Himself was the perfect example of a simple life
-He had no home
-He lived day to day
-He took no possessions with Him
-But here, with the young man mentioned in Matthew’s gospel, He calls a good man, who has obeyed all of the Ten commandments, to sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor
-It was the way for him to have eternal life
-This kind of goes against our way of thinking
-Belief in Christ as the only way to salvation
-Yet, it was this man’s possessions that was keeping Him from fully believing in Christ
-He could not be closed to the Lord with all of the possessions he had in his life
-The same is true with us
-When our lives are complex and not simple, we cannot be as close to the Lord as we need to be and as He wants us to be
-Complexity can come in many forms, so let’s take a good, close look this morning at what the simple life is all about
I. The Simple Life Is The Life Less Cluttered
A. With activity
-Work, home, kids school and activities
-I’ve looked at some church calendars. . .
1. Activity alone does not bring success
-It where the activity is directed
2. Activity alone does not bring contentment
B. With stuff
-John Wesley’s attitude is worthy of pondering. When he learned that his house had been destroyed by fire, he exclaimed, "The Lord’s house burned. One less responsibility for me!"
-You see, we like our possessions
-But one thing I’m becoming aware of recently is the effect that often our needed and life-improving stuff has on us
1. Sometimes they can have an addictive-like hold on us
2. Sometimes they can demand more of our time than they save
-ILL: A New Computer
-ILL: Car Repairs
-This begs the question about control
-Who (or what) is in control?
-Me or my stuff?
3. Usually they can be done without
-Can you remember the days before cell phones?
-Can you remember the days before microwaves?
-Can you remember the days before Ipods, portable CD players, the Walkman or transistor radios
-We did alright in those days, didn’t we?
-Can you remember the days before 4 wheel drives were ordinary?
-Can you remember the days before keyless entry?
-Can you remember the days before every home had two cars or more?
-We did alright in those days, didn’t we?
-In most cases, we could live without the things we have and say with Mr. Wesley, “One less responsibility for me!"
II. The Simple Life Is The Life Less Expensive
-ILL: Shirtless Contentment
A story is told of a king who was suffering from a malady and was advised by his astrologer that he would be cured if the shirt of a contented man were brought to him to wear. People went out to all parts of the kingdom after such a person, and after a long search they found a man who was really happy...but he did not possess a shirt.
A. It focuses on needs rather than wants
-Can we truly differentiate between the two?
B. It contents itself with its present situation
-ILL: Catalog Dreaming Or Window Shopping
III. The Simple Life Is The Life More Generous
-You see, a less expensive life will leave us more to be generous with
-And the simple life doesn’t just hoard the resources God has blessed it with
-The simple life is generous
A. To those in need
-This was the direct call to the young man in our passage today