14 April, 2017

The Power of Simplicity

Have you ever thought about how many times we climb a mountain when all we need to do is walk through the tunnel? I'm talking about times when rather than simply saying or doing what needs to be done, we make a major production out of something that could be handled quite simply. I recently listened to a politician give a speech on television, and after he had spoken for nearly 30 minutes, a friend asked me what he had said. I was able to say everything the man said in two short sentences. We laughed about it, but I have been thinking about that ever since that moment. Why do we tend to make things so difficult? Why can't we just say it, or do it, and be done with it?

I was thinking about how this applies to us as Christians and how we tell others about our faith in Christ. We often try to "scale the mountain" with our words or testimony, when the person we are speaking to is ripe and ready to hear a right now Word from God.
A lot of folks think that unless you say a lot, talk a long time, you have not been effective. But can I tell you that there is power in just a few words?

I'm reminded of a time when I was young when there was a large number of accidents at train crossings. The Grand Trunk Railroad was quite concerned and they ran a nationwide contest searching for a slogan that would make people more aware of the dangers of these railroad crossings. The winner was to receive $2500. (Which was a lot of money back then!) Thousands and thousands of entries poured in... but the winning slogan was three short words... "STOP... LOOK... LISTEN." Those three words became known to everyone and undoubtedly saved hundreds, maybe even thousands of lives.
Great studies had been completed, positional papers were written, and meetings held across the nation to try to solve this problem at railroad crossings.... but three words changed the entire situation all across the nation. There is power in simplicity.

I've been thinking about this for some weeks now, and I realize that way too often, when people call me about their problems, their current crisis or whatever, I often go into long discussions as we try to get to the bottom of the issue and how to resolve it; when the answer is found in three short words found in Hebrews 12:2 "Looking unto Jesus." What else really needs to be said?
The reality is that so often we need to quit talking, quit fretting and worrying, and we need to take it to Jesus, "the author and finisher of our faith"!  There is power in simplicity!

Sitting here typing this, I am reminded of my teen years when I sang in a church youth choir. There was an old song that a man in my church had written a new arrangement to that had a recitation in it. The recitation began:
"The love of God; four short words, but how inclusive."
The words to the song said:
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

You know, sometimes rather than scaling the mountain to tell someone about the ramifications of sin...
Rather than launching into a theological discourse about salvation...
Maybe we just need to tell them about the wonderful love of God.
There is power in simplicity!

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