Simple living is an appealing ideal in our fast-paced world. Slowing down and taking time to smell the roses sounds wonderful, but is it Biblical? As Christians, don’t we need to rush from one thing to the next as fast as we can, trying to do as much for the Lord as we possibly can? We already looked at some Old Testament characters and learned lessons in simple living from them. Let’s look at the lives of five Bible characters in the New Testament and see if they can answer these questions for us!
1. Bible Characters in the New Testament: John
Now, John didn’t plan it that way, but he ended up having a block of dedicated time to spend devoted to the Lord. He was put on a deserted island as a way of persecution. God used that time in John’s life to give him a vision of the future and of Heaven so that he could write the book of Revelation.
Do you think that John ever felt upset because he was put on that island away from everyone? He could have used that time fretting that he wasn’t in the thick of the action witnessing, preaching, and working in the church. Instead, it appears that he used that time to get to know God better, and God used this to make John a blessing to Christians down through the centuries.
Do you ever set aside dedicated blocks of time to be with the Lord? You don’t have to go somewhere else. You can set aside time right where you are. Try emptying out your schedule a little bit so that you can spend personal time alone with the Lord. As you spend time with Him, you may find that He wants to show you some special things He wants to do through you. He has a plan for you!
2. Bible Characters in the New Testament: Mary
This New Testament Bible character has simple living illustrated clearly in her life. We find Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet. She wanted to be near Him, to hear what He had to say, to look into His face, and to be changed by Him.
In contrast to Mary, we see her sister rushing around, trying to get everything done, and complaining. Now, work is necessary, and ministry is important, but this little scene shows us that there is something even more important: time with Jesus.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
What was the good part, the one important thing that Mary chose? Time with Jesus! I think a lot of our hurry and stress and complaining comes as a result of not spending time with Jesus. If we start our day with Him, we can find peace in His presence and receive a clearer picture of what He wants us to be doing that day.
You and I both know that hectic things will happen. They are part of life. But, if we draw strength from the Lord first, we will be armed with His peace and can once again breathe a prayer for His help. It will be more natural to continue communing with Him if you started the day with Him as your focus.
3. Bible Characters in the New Testament: Paul
Now this one may surprise you. How did Paul make the list? When I think of Paul, I don’t think of simple and quiet. Of all the Bible characters in the New Testament, Paul seems like the busiest. I think of him traveling around, being persecuted, mobbed, and facing many difficult things.
Now, let me share something with you. Simple living does not mean that your life will always be easy. Jesus didn’t call us to easy lives. But, when we simplify our lives, then we will be free to focus on things from God’s perspective and have the right focus. This is what Paul did.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Notice what Paul said. “This one thing I do.” He had a single focus. His focus was on running the race of life in the strength of the Lord and reaching God’s best for him. With this mindset, he wasn’t tied down to his past failures or even his past victories; he was pressing forward!
4. Bible Characters in the New Testament: Dorcas
What is Dorcas known for? You’re right! She is known for being a wonderful seamstress who gave clothing to the poor. Notice: she isn’t known as the greatest cook or baker. She isn’t known as a meticulous housekeeper or the most thrifty woman in town.
It’s possible that Dorcas did some of these other things as well, but her main task was sewing. Do you ever find yourself pulled in so many directions because there is a myriad of things that you want to do or need to do? I do! Let’s remember Dorcas the seamstress. She sewed and had a reputation for sewing. If she had tried to do everything, she would have probably ended up accomplishing very little of anything.
Instead of trying to do everything, it can be better to narrow down our activities and really learn a few things well.
5. The Greatest Example: Jesus
As in everything else, Jesus is our greatest example of simple living. Going back to Genesis and the beginning, Jesus created the world in six days. When he finished, he rested on the seventh day. Why did He do this? Was it because He was tired? No! He had simply spoken the universe into existence. Jesus is so powerful that this work was as nothing to Him.
The reason Jesus rested was as an example for us. He knew that as finite creatures, we need to take a day out of our week to rest and focus on Him. So, even though He didn’t need this day of rest, He rested to set the example for us!
Let’s also look at Jesus when He lived here on earth. Even though He was fully God, Jesus also became fully man and lived here on earth. He wasn’t focused on laying up treasure on earth or living a fun life. He also didn’t have a lot of possessions. Jesus lived simply and was focused on doing the will of His Father in Heaven.
Jesus was also very intentional in His ministry. He only went where His Heavenly Father sent Him. Notice, Jesus didn’t spread Himself too thin by trying to visit every town all the time or heal every sick person in the land. No, He went where His Heavenly Father sent Him and nowhere else. Jesus also took the time to be alone and have fellowship with His Father, finding out His will and getting the strength to do it. You see, Jesus had to have the strength of the Holy Spirit because He laid aside His own strength while He was here on earth.
Seek His Strength!
Jesus is our example, and He is our strength. We are not strong enough to do anything in our own strength. Instead, we need to ask Him to live His perfect life through us each and every day.
- Take time each day to be alone with Jesus. Find out His will for your day and seek His strength in carrying it out. And just take some time to enjoy being with your Best Friend!
- There are so many ways that we can serve Jesus and work in His kingdom. Instead of trying to do every ministry you can think of, find out from the Lord which ones He has for you. And, don’t put ministry ahead of your time with Him. Without His strength, you can’t work for Him!
- What is the “one thing” Paul did? Pressing on in His walk with Jesus! What is the “one thing” Jesus said is needful? Time with Him!
Can you think of any more Bible characters in the New Testament who practiced simple living? What thought are you taking with you today?
Until next time, focus on the “one thing” for the glory of God!