Spiritual Disciplines // SIMPLICITY & FASTING
By Isaac Hovet
Today we focus on simplicity and fasting. In light of our Nehemiah passage this week, we are looking deeply into our financial lives.
It is complicated, isn’t it?
Tax season approaches quickly. Soon you may receive another stimulus check. You might be wondering about the minimum wage increase that is being debated.
You’ll probably receive credit card offers this week. You might receive a phone call about renewing your automobile warranty. You certainly will purchase something at some time this week. You will have bills arrive in your mailbox. If you own a vehicle, you will need to put gas in it, might need to change the oil or replace the brakes.
You will clean the kitchen, you will take out the trash, you might clean the garage or repair a phone or a computer. Your internet might go down, you might feel the need to upgrade to a faster connection. You might be reminded to cancel a subscription.
You will see advertisements in your social media feed, on billboards, on store windows, on TV, on YouTube. Each is a ploy to grab your attention, to sell you a product or to otherwise treat you as a consumer.
It is all so distracting, isn’t it? Over and over and over again we are told that life is about getting the next thing, buying the next thing, upgrading the thing, consuming more of this or that. We live in a world of abundance and through that abundance we are enslaved, we are weighed down and misled.
We need to simplify. We need less. We need to clear something out. Jesus preached to (mainly) peasants. People who had simple lives. People who lived in dependence to the seasons. People who relied on fishing and farming. We might long to live their lives.
But, they too lived burdened and weighed down. If you and I could sit down with these people for coffee, we might swap horror stories of what it is like to live our lives. They might long for the excess of our lives while we pine for the simplicity of theirs.
That conversation, as stimulating as it might be, might miss the point that Jesus makes to them and to us. Read this passage:
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”Matthew 6:25 (NASB)
Life consists of far more than the stuff we consume and the things we acquire.
So, today, let’s practice some simplicity through reflection.
- Make a list of all the financial and property burdens that come to mind. Don’t take too much time, but list out your concerns or pressing responsibilities.
- Note which are the top three.
- Pray over them. Ask God to help you and to give you wisdom.
- Now, put that list away. Today, fast from worry and concern.
- Come back to the list and the to-dos tomorrow.