Being simple is one of the smartest ways to approach life; it’s also a character God would prefer each one of us possess as we build a relationship with him. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
The term simpleton isn’t used much any more. However, growing up I would hear it occasionally. In fact, I knew a simpleton or two back then, or so I thought. We often characterized folks who conjured simple solutions, dwelt in plain places, wore non-descript clothing, and spoke with few words as simple. Unfortunately, along with these traits frequently went the label of dullness or stupidity. We tend to label people according to degrees of social conformity. If the majority conforms to a style of clothes, manner of speaking, complexity of thought and choice of environment, those who don’t conform open themselves up to labeling. One guy I knew, Dickie, fit that label. His clothes were plain as he seldom wore anything other than a cotton shirt and overalls. He spoke slowly, usually looking down at your feet. His family was poor, living in a small, rented farmhouse that barely accommodated their large family. His solution to most any problem was a smile and a nod. We thought Dickie to be a dullard. However, to be less cruel we just put him in a category of simple.
Now, as I look back over 50 years, I recall Dickie in an entirely different light. Although simple he was a brilliant guy. He invited me over to his house after school one day and I found out that Dickie, although publicly simple, was privately very complex. His Dad had passed away and he was the oldest. During my visit I remember how he was able to be both a big brother and a father figure to his siblings, all the while treating me, his classmate, as a friend–regarding my presence with kindness and respect. His relationship with his Mom was notable as well. He respected her as I did my Mom, but she relied on him as she would a spouse for the never-ending chores around the house. As I visited that day I came to the conclusion that their’s was a uniquely noble relationship, and distinctly impressed that Dickie may have been the smartest simple guy I knew.
Being simple is one of the smartest ways to approach life; it’s also a character God would prefer each one of us possess as we build our relationship with him.
Here’s a thought from author Victor Hugo. “It would be better to abandon our over-rapid development of the intellect and to aim rather at training the heart and the affections.” (Unknown).
Dickie the smartest simple guy I knew; as he had learned how to embrace each moment of life, culture it according to the needs of the heart, and use it to confirm and improve his relationships with siblings and parent. Dickie never achieved much in the way of peer popularity, and I doubt he ever made the Honor Role. Nevertheless, he was no dullard or simpleton. Similarly, this is how our Savior would see us daily; able to find the brilliance of the spiritual moment, not always searching for some complicated idea of who God is, what heaven may be like or who wrote the Letter to the Hebrews? Incredulously, when we look beyond the moment, he asks, “Don’t you know me?” To know Jesus is never an intellectual challenge. Simply, Jesus is in the moment and there’s really no need to search him out. It’s brilliantly simple.
We pray. Thank you Lord for making yourself known to us in ways that are simple and of the moment. We are so often tempted to search you out for fear that we might miss some exquisite detail of your Lordship, when all along you are beckoning, “Here I am friend. Don’t you know me?” Forgive us Lord when we inadvertently complicate things with questions that don’t need to be asked and ideas that have no merit in the moment. You are a brilliantly simple Savior who is always apparent, never hidden and readily known. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
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