You Have To Work Hard To Keep It Simple July 6, 2018


He was an engineer who had been responsible for the invention of things too intricate for me to understand. Yet the message he conveyed to me was one that I not only understood, I needed to hear. Over a meal in a city where I was speaking a very kind Christian gentleman was explaining to me the type of work he had been in and the specific machinery that he had designed. In the middle of that conversation he remarked, “The hardest machine to build is a simple one. The hardest building to construct is a simple one. You have to work hard to keep it simple.”

Now, I am no engineer! But the principle applies to us all: The easiest thing in the world is to have a complicated life. The hardest thing in the world is to have a simple life. You have to work hard to keep it simple.

Like barnacles attaching themselves to a ship daily demands begin to weigh us down. The pull of people. The press of schedules. The prompting of something within that vaguely suggests we can cram one more thing into an already crowded life.

As I write these words I am sitting in one of the busiest airports in the world. The terminal is bustling. People are hurrying by. Everyone is in a rush. Many are carrying far more than they probably need. Yet in the crowds I see myself. Picking up the luggage of life…struggling under needless burdens…before you know it life can get very complicated.

It didn’t start this way. In fact, we all came into this world with nothing but our naked souls. The innocence of childhood and the simplicity of youth soon give way to the reality that this world is a complex place.

Some of this is growing up. Some of this is not growth at all – it is death. No wonder the world is full of so many unhappy old people. Complexity easily grows into cynicism. The fuller you get the emptier you can become.

You have to work hard to keep it simple.

 At the risk of adding one more “list” to your already complicated life, please permit me to share a few things we all must do if we want to live simply…

  1. Write down priorities as if you had only a few days to live. The longer you live some things matter less and less and other things matter more and more. Some things don’t matter at all! Go to the end and work your way back. What will matter most when life is over? Your walk with Christ. Your family. Your church. Your connection to eternal things. Measure everything else by these realities.
  2. Eliminate unnecessary clutter. Let’s just get this out-of-the-way because this may be one of the hardest things to do: learn to say no. Refuse to add something else just because you can. Streamline your schedule. Cut out needless distractions. Your calendar doesn’t have to be completely full for your life to be.
  3. Think much about Jesus. Do you think the Christian life is complicated? That is a lie of the enemy. WE make it complicated. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). A clear view of the Lord will help to clarify and simplify everything else in life.

You have to work hard to keep it simple.

You might think that a world traveler and missionary-apostle like Paul would have had a very complicated life. There were complexities to be sure. But from his vantage point it was all very simple: “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward” (2 Corinthians 1:12).

I want this for my life. Do you want it for yours?

You have to work hard to keep it simple…but the end is worth the effort.

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  1. Bob Radank on July 6, 2018 at 8:23 AM

    This is a great thought. It is invaluable for the Christian and those in ministry…especially in ministry, because we like to complicate things! Thanks for sharing and God bless

    • Scott Pauley on July 9, 2018 at 10:01 AM

      Thanks, Bob. Praying for you all and the work there in Germany.

  2. Daniel Wakefield on July 6, 2018 at 9:49 AM

    Thanks for a refreshing reminder at the start of another day! I shared it with our College students and I am praying they will benefit from it as I have.

    • Scott Pauley on July 9, 2018 at 10:01 AM

      Thanks for reading and sharing it with others. God bless you my friend!

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