Keeping It Simple

There are times when I feel life has become very complicated.  Maybe I was raised in a rather protected environment, maybe I have always been a little too naive – a little too willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.  If, as it has been said, that “a sucker” is born every minute – well, maybe I’ve been taken more times than I like to admit.  There is so much conflict in the world, so many taking sides, so many unwilling to listen, so many trying to out yell, or out fox, the other.  It makes me tired thinking about it.

On the other hand,  I am not sure that we always need to analyze everything – and everyone – to death.

I don’t think life always has to be seen as complicated and difficult.

In fact, sometimes I think things can be pretty simple, if we let them be.

Take Jesus for example. 

On the one hand, who he was – who he is – and will be – philosophers and theologians have been arguing that for two millennia.

God too – after all, what does it mean – what does God mean – exactly – when he says “I am who I am” or “I am who I will be”?

Still, look at Jesus’s ministry.  It can be summed up in three short words.  Teach. Preach. Heal.  That’s what He came to do – that’s what He did.  Even the cross, in all it’s mystery might be seen in those three acts – teaching the world, preaching good news to the world, healing the world.

It is both mysteriously complex and simple – beautifully simple.

So, if at times you find you are “brain tired” like me, take a pause,breathe, and give thanks.

God’s gracious act of love – then, now, and in the future – is really what matters.

That, and how we respond to it.

Pretty simple.   Don’t you think?

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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