January Stewardship Corner: Living Simply

Stewardship is caring for all that God has given us— ourselves, our time, our possessions, the
earth and all creation, our community both close and worldwide. We know this very well; we
hear it in church repeatedly. But too often God’s call to stewardship is lost in the hustle and
bustle of our everyday lives. We are overwhelmed with what’s going on in the world, in our
community, in our church, in our families, and in ourselves. And we’re caught up in the
contemporary cultural passion to possess. Indeed, 70% of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
is buying stuff. Our economy depends on our fetish that “more is better.” We’re so caught up in
it all, that we don’t know how to exit the rollercoaster and reclaim a slower, more purposeful
life journey together with God.

“Christian simplicity frees us from this modern mania. It brings sanity to our compulsive
extravagance, and peace to our frantic spirit…People once again become more important than
possessions, enabl[ing] us to live lives of integrity in the face of the terrible realities of our
global village.” 1

Simplicity is eliminating the noise in our lives to allow us to focus on the important role that
God calls us to be—caring stewards of our lives and our world. Simplicity is a grace, because it is
a gift from God. Simplicity is a discipline, because we are called to do something. But simplicity
isn’t simple. It takes time, effort, and balance. The potential result, however, is restoration of
soul and relationship with others and with the environment.
Immanuel’s 2022 theme for Stewardship is “Living Simply.” Each month, we’ll consider a
different aspect of simplicity, starting with inward characteristics—like prayer and solitude—
and moving to outward characteristics—like consumerism and wellness. You’ll be challenged to
accept God’s gift of simplicity and practice the discipline as well. As individuals and as a
congregation, we can be better stewards of what God has given us. We just need to try, simply.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” —
Hans Hofmann, artist and teacher
1 Quote from “Freedom of Simplicity,” Richard J. Foster, 2005, p3