41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
When we moved from our home to a small apartment, Jim and I reduced our belongings and furniture. We did this out of necessity, and we also wanted to simplify and live more minimally. But now that we have moved to our new home, I find I am excited about new decorations and furniture. (“Wouldn’t this look nice in that corner?”) I realize that I enjoy having a cozy home, with interesting items that inspire or brighten our days, with comfortable spaces to offer our hospitality to others.
Today our Lenten practice is simplicity. Perhaps the genuine spiritual practice of simplicity is what Jesus is referring to in his words to Martha, “there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part…” Simplicity can be practiced or lived out in a variety of ways, but all of these ways are to help us live with one purpose: loving God wholeheartedly. The simplicity is in having this one purpose in life! When we have one purpose, a singleness of heart, our single heart is our whole heart.
For our simplicity focus today, let’s consider ridding ourselves of those things that keep our hearts from loving God wholeheartedly. Our clutter might be closets stuffed with material possessions. But our clutter could also be schedules jammed with activities and work, minds jumbled with worry or unnecessary concerns, or hearts filled with resentments or pettiness. One small step at a time, we can keep removing the clutter that impedes our purpose of loving God.
Let’s also remember to keep those things that help us to love God wholeheartedly. How might we keep our homes in ways that bring joy to us and bless others, keep spaces in our schedules for time with God, keep God’s words and love in our hearts, or keep God’s peace and hope in our souls? We may discover new, delightful ways to live in simplicity; to live with a singleness of purpose, our wholehearted love of God.
Our reminder symbol is any item that is meaningful to us. (Mine is a small cross from my friend, Nancy, that reads, “live simply.”) May it remind us to be discerning about what distracts and impedes us from loving God, and what inspires and helps us to love God.
You love us with infinite love. Even as I long to love you completely, I know that so many things pull my heart in different directions- and away from loving you wholeheartedly. Help me to find new ways to live in simplicity. Help me to live with a single purpose, that of loving you. Amen.