The Power of Simplicity

Bill Hall

Jesus Christ had a deep appreciation for simple things. His teaching was profound, but always simple. He reached the hearts of His hearers, not with high-sounding philosophical jargon, but with illustrations and "to the point" teaching. He could see in a farmer sowing his seed, or a lily showing forth its beauty, or a shepherd leaving his flock to seek one lost sheep, or a loving father welcoming a wayward son, a lesson that could teach spiritual truth.


His apostles were chosen from the humble class. He could appreciate people, not for what they possessed, but for what they were; and, in some cases, not for what they were, but for what they could become. He recognized true quality, and true quality is often found in the simple and humble.


The worship He ordained was simple in nature. "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul spoke to them ..." (Acts 20:7). Even the poorest could worship, for all that was required of a material nature was a little bread and fruit of the vine. Those of little talent could worship, for God was listening in view of the heart rather than the beauty of the voice.


He authorized a simple organization for His church, with each congregation appointing its own bishops and deacons (Philippians 1:1). There were no denominational associations, conferences, or synods. There were no inter-church organizations or societies. Yet, through the simple organization given the church by the Lord, the world of the first century was thoroughly evangelized and the needy among them provided for. The Lord knew that success in His work would not be brought about through complexity of organization, but through dedication, faith, and commitment on the part of His followers. We make a terrible mistake when we try to substitute the former for the latter.


Why this simplicity? "That no flesh should glory in His presence" (1 Corinthians 1:29). The complex systems which men devise tend to bring glory to themselves rather than to God.


To return to the simplicity which our Lord ordained might not be impressive to the worldly-minded, but, then, Jesus Himself is not very impressive to the worldly-minded. Besides, our purpose is not to impress the worldly-minded, but to please God and bow in submission to His will. Let us do away with our super projects and complex systems. Let us learn to appreciate simple teaching and simple ways. Above all, let us learn to appreciate Bible teaching and Bible ways.


Someone has said: "How foolish we are to think that God will be impressed with our voices when we sing; after all, He hears the angels sing! How foolish to think He will be impressed with our cathedrals; remember, He made the Grand Canyon!" What He is seeking for is a heart that is pure, loving, and obedient to His will. And that's simple.