I had a really great as well as really challenging time preparing for and leading a session with a great group of young people from St John’s Southall this morning. They have been journeying through a series on the spiritual disciplines and today’s was on simplicity.
We took our inspiration from Richard Foster The Celebration of discipline and a really helpful and engaging book by Martin Saunders called ‘The Beautiful Disciplines‘
Using the interactive, session themed resources in this book was brilliant as we got the chance to look at our priorities, our possessions and our time in a way that was helpful and challenging. We had to list 10 things that we thought were essential to our lives and then try to reduce that list down to just 5. Not at all easy. Especially as so recently I had to make a list of everything I had in my life!
We were inspired and challenged by 1 Timothy 6: 6-10
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
It brought up some great discussion, especially about the importance of who we are, who we are becoming and the importance of character and core ethos in connection with what we do and what our goals, careers and aims are. Wealth and Money are themselves not a problem, provided our attitude towards them is healthy and orientated towards generosity rather than simply selfish gain.
The conclusion of today was to live open handedly, to hold onto what we have lightly and when we do possess things to be more thankful and more aware of the blessing that they can bring not only to ourselves but also to others.
As this session and my reading has shown me so far, There is a very strong link between simplicity and generosity. Simplicity has to be lived out in Generosity. For that reason alone these are two disciplines that indeed are beautiful and indeed should be celebrated and embraced.