They said it better than I ever can. As I live in this foreign land and journey through my own familiar weaknesses, some books have influenced my thoughts this summer on simplicity, making a difference, and risking it all for things that matter. Here are a few:
1. Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
“Simplicity sets us free to receive the provision of God as a gift that is not ours to keep and can be freely shared with others.”
“The inward reality of simplicity involves a life of joyful unconcern for possessions," he writes. "Neither the greedy nor the miserly know this liberty. It has nothing to do with abundance of possessions or their lack. It is an inward spirit of trust…It is possible for a person to be developing an outward lifestyle of simplicity and to be filled with anxiety. Conversely, wealth does not bring freedom from anxiety.”
“Simplicity means the freedom to trust God for these (possessions, reputation, employment) and all things.”
“Stop trying to impress people with your clothes and impress them with your life."
“When we are tempted to think that what we own is the result of our personal efforts, it takes only a little drought or a small accident to show us once again how utterly dependent we are for everything.
If what we have, we receive as a gift, and if what we have is to be cared for by God, and if what we have is available to others, then we will possess freedom from anxiety. This is the inward reality of simplicity.”
2. Barefoot Church; Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture by Brandon Hatmaker
"Nothing of great value comes without great cost."
"When we look at need in the world, when we see the statistics and see millions in need, it's easy to be overwhelmed...We must know it's in millions--but we must see it as one: one homeless family off the streets. one orphan finding a home, one hungry mouth fed, one well in Africa dug, one victory at a time, one disciple at a time, one after another, one at a time. The journey is not helping God do something He can't do without us...It's about being good news to a world in need of good news."
3. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (free right now on Kindle).
This is the first time I've read this controversial classic that is an inspiration to challenge the status quo and be willing to go to battle for real change.
"Perhaps it is impossible for a person who does no good not to do harm."
"People who have friends and houses and lands and money, and all those things can't love as we do, who have nothing but each other."
"If this world were all, George," said Simeon, "thee might, indeed, ask where is the Lord? But it is often those who have the least of all in this life whom He chooseth for the kingdom. Put thy trust in Him and no matter what befalls thee here, he will make all right hereafter."
"We does for the Lord what we does for His creatures," said Tom.
photo credit, KOMUnews