I’ve been thinking a lot about simplicity recently. Our family is moving into a different house in April, so along with that comes all the packing and purging of unwanted and unneeded items. We have been in our current house for almost four years. We went through the same process of packing and purging before moving into this house. You would think a family of four wouldn’t accumulate that much in just four years. Wrong! Where does it all come from and why do we have it? Of course, it’s all stuff we “needed” at the time, right?
My children are 10 and 13, so they are able to help with our packing and purging this time around. This has led to some good conversations about how much stuff do we really “need.” In turn, we talk about the difference between “needs” and wants.” How much of the stuff we have do we really use? How much of this stuff just becomes clutter and gets in the way … physically and emotionally? Physically, it’s in the way. Emotionally, it’s a part of us that we don’t want to let go or part with for one reason or another. Matthew 6:21 tells us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” For many of us, our treasure is our stuff. I don’t want my heart to be with my stuff. I want Jesus to be my treasure, and that’s where I want my heart to be. That’s where I want the hearts of my children to be too.
Teaching our children the value of simplicity is becoming more and more challenging. They live in a fast-paced world that values the “stuff” we have. Technology is moving at such a fast rate, that we often upgrade to the latest cell phone or iPad, not because the one we have has worn out, but because we want to have the latest and greatest. How many times have you heard someone say their young children were more interested in playing with the boxes their gifts came in that the gifts themselves?
I think what the Bible says about the importance of relationships can help us understand the need for simplicity. John 13:24-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” I want my children to learn to value the importance of relationships … most importantly, their relationship with Jesus, but also with the many people they have in their lives. I definitely prefer people over things. I love the friendships I have and I am so grateful for the many wonderful people who love our family. I know I don’t always model this behavior for my children, but this is something I plan to put more effort into. We can easily place our value or importance in the things we have. If we place more value on relationships, I truly believe that the value we place on things will diminish … leaving us with the simpler life Jesus wants us to lead. – Dee Ann Lord, Children & Family Ministry Coach