As a long-time preacher, I appreciate preacher jokes. Like the preacher who noticed his wife sitting on the front row holding a little sign with one word: KISS. After the service, he told her how much her expression of affection encouraged him and that he almost blew her a kiss back in response. She informed him that she was not blowing him a kiss. She was reminding him to “Keep It Short & Simple”.
Or how about the seminary professor who told his “preacher boys” that there were three parts to a successful sermon: (1) Stand up and be seen; (2) Speak up and be heard; (3) Shut up and be appreciated.
Please do not use either of those messages on your pastor.
The late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, was a preacher of sorts. He certainly was not a Christ-following gospel preacher. In fact, he was one weird and really “out there” dude. But he had a message: “Simplify”. If you use a smart phone, you can probably thank Steve Jobs (or curse him on those days when you would like to throw that smart-aleck piece of technology in the nearest dumpster). There was a time when some of us carried a beeper to be reachable, a walk-man to take our music with us, and either a calendar/notebook or one of those little personal digital assistant things to keep up with important dates and appointments. When we added a big ol’ mobile phone, we had a ton (or at least several pounds) of technology to carry around. Mr. Simplify started asking what would happen if all those could be combined into one simple piece of equipment and voila! Hello, iPhone!
(photo credit: idownloadblog.com)
Now, I don’t intend for this column to be an apologetic for Apple, iPhone, or technology of any sort. I am a significant consumer and user of technology for both personal and professional purposes, but that is not relevant for this conversation.
My point today is that we all need to simplify. I’m not talking about going back to a simpler time. Though I can understand the appeal, that option is not really open to us culturally if we are going to fulfill the purpose God has for us in the world. I’m talking about a less complicated, convoluted, and frenetic approach to life. I’m talking about listening to the Master of Simplicity (Jesus, not Steve Jobs), who said:
"So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.’” (Matthew 6:31-33, New Living Translation)
We don’t need a more complicated message. We need a clearer message. We don’t need more stuff. We need more focus on the reality that our lives really do matter to God.
And that is simply profound.
Question: What is one thing you can do TODAY to regain that focus?
Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your perspective.