I was reading a book this morning, actually it's the book by our church's soon-to-be settled pastor, David Auten. In the book, David talks about three kinds of people. There's the "soldier," the "sage" and the "saint."
"The soldier is a person of the hands who wills to do good for others in very practical ways. The sage is a person of the mind who thinks in order to help others see the world in a more holistic, God-centered way. The saint is a person of the heart who feels deeply in order to help people emotionally and relationally. We all play a part in each of those roles. Yet God tends to fashion us such that we fall into one role more than another."(Embrace, page 47)This is a helpful way of looking at our unique and individual giftedness for the Kingdom of God. Now, interestingly enough, this discussion on giftedness shows up in the context of the section entitled, "Simplicity." At first, I didn't necessarily understand the direct connection between these things and the concept of simplicity. When I think of simplicity I think of living within (or below) your means, consuming as little as possible to maintain a sustainable lifestyle, and keeping independent from the draws of upward mobility and wealth. Now all of these are pieces of what simplicity might look like but, sadly, I don't immediately think of what should be at the heart of all of these choices--the sabbath.
Sabbath is about enjoying rest but it's also about creating a rhythm in life from which true growth and life can be cultivated. When we think of being a blessing, using our gifts to bless others, we don't usually think of rest or rhythm but blessing is ultimately about the same things that the Sabbath is all about--cultivating the life that is truly life.
Think of the person who is so busy doing good things (soldier) that they never really have a chance to be truly present for anyone. Think of the person who is so busy studying and learning (sage) that they never really have a chance to see or show how the lessons they're learning actually work out in real life. Think of the person who is so emotionally caught up in so many things (saint) that they become more of a hindrance than a help. The reason that these cannot be a blessing, the reason that their giftedness is going to waste is because they lack the simplicity that true Sabbath really offers.
To be genuinely present for people so that our doing, our teaching, and our emotional support can truly cultivate growth and life, means being free from machine-ism and the clutter of having to constantly produce. It means creating space, even sacred space, so that we can actually be there. To pursue this kind of simplicity is to pursue Christ, for Christ alone offers peace beyond understanding. We won't find simplicity through trying to produce simplicity. We will only find simplicity--the kind that cultivates growth and life in our lives and in the lives of others--in the God who rests, the God revealed in Jesus Christ.