Jen’s Gem: It’s Simple. God Loves You!
Over the past several years, I have spent a considerable amount of time decluttering my home. This was the result of small-scale remodeling projects as well as my many possessions simply losing their meaning. Today, I can look around the rooms in my house and know that everything has a purpose. There’s no excess.
I’ve read that people spend the first part of their lives collecting things and the second part of their lives getting rid of them. There are decluttering books that show you how to do this, some with provocative titles like “Death Cleaning.” Yikes! The premise is to clear out your house before you die so that your heirs won’t have to. Having gone through this recently at my parent’s house, it’s not a bad idea.
My parents were not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. I did not grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth, though I suspect my older siblings likely thought I did given their meager circumstances. However, I never wanted for the basic necessities of life. There was a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and a home-cooked meal on the table every night. Nothing lavish.
The rules during my childhood were also simple. Go to school. Do your homework. Do your chores. Respect your parents and elders. You didn’t need Google or guru’s to raise children back then. One could say this was because the world was not as complicated as it is today. That’s a fair statement. The more complex things get, the more rules we need.
For example, if there were no mobile phones, parents wouldn’t have to have rules for screen time. If there wasn’t a plethora of chemicals in our food supply, we wouldn’t have to have rules around what we can or cannot eat. So many rules.
The logical part of my brain likes rules and process. When things go according to plan, you get great results. Perhaps this is why I excelled at solving math equations. Apply the rules and you get the answer!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been studying the Old Testament. Stories of kings and prophets who urged the people to follow the rules and regulations to properly serve God. There were over 600 rules back then and while this does seem daunting, it pales in comparison to our own federal laws that number in the tens of thousands.
Despite all the rules and regulations, there was still trouble among the people of ancient times. There was division, greed, hatred, and war. The rules were not a recipe for success. They did not produce the right answer. When Jesus came, He did away with the 600-plus rules and regulations. In essence, He decluttered the rule book and left us with only two as stated in Matthew 22:37-40:
“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Seems pretty simple – Love God. Love others. However, all one has to do is open up their news feed to see that as simple as this is, as a people, we are failing miserably. Oh sure, you see glimpses of success from time to time in the rare “feel-good” stories we hear. But on the whole? Not so much.
I may not have had a lot growing up but I always knew my parents loved me. The other day I noted to a friend that even though I also cannot lavish things upon my kids, they know I love them. When you know you are loved, valued, and appreciated, there’s nothing you can’t do.
That’s the power of God’s love for you. When you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Creator of the universe loves you, anything is possible.
This week, I’d like to encourage you to throw out your previous, perhaps incorrect rules about God. Be a minimalist and focus on one thing- God loves you.
Pretty simple, right?