05 Mar Rice & Beans Week 1: Simplicity
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)
Finding Freedom in “One Thing”
A winter storm brought an unexpected gift to our family in January: twenty-four hours of simplicity. Sheets of snow and freezing rain slowed our hectic lives to a lull. With calendars cleared, our pajama-clad family sat idly around the breakfast table, our hearts unfettered from the tyranny of to-do lists. Our eldest son Hayden read a psalm: “I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world…” (Psalm 27:4-5, MSG)
As I let David’s prayer sink in, I realized I wanted to ask God for the same one thing David asked for: To be. With Him. My whole being wanted to slow down and soak in God’s beauty and goodness. As I scrubbed the remains of breakfast out of the skillet, I realized that simplicity doesn’t have to be contingent on our circumstances.
But how—amidst the incessant barrage of things to do, bills to pay, and kids to feed—is simplicity possible?
Over the last few years, our family has been learning how to practice simplicity as we’ve participated in this Rice & Beans experience. Like a snow day, a simple meal can slow you down and renew your focus. This is the gift that fasting brings. It reminds us that abundance is not found by amassing more. Or accomplishing more. In the end, the one and only thing we need more of is Jesus. In a frenetic, fallen world, He alone can fill us with the joy and peace our anxious souls long for.
Lent invites us to clear our lives of things that steal our time and energy away from focusing on Jesus. Like Mary’s sister Martha, we all have a propensity to become “anxious and troubled about many things …” Jesus smiles knowingly and adds, “but one thing is necessary.” (Luke 10:41-42, ESV)
To be. With Him.
Christopher Coffman, Associate Pastor of Outreach
River West Church in Lake Oswego, Oregon
East Africa Connection
As this first full week of Lent begins, find out a bit more about the Rice & Beans experience and see some of the beautiful children who benefit directly from our sacrifices. Check out the videos “Rice & Beans Month Basics” and “Welcome To Rice & Beans Month” at eatriceandbeans.com/video.
Simple, but not easy. Changing simplicity from a concept that sounds vaguely appealing into a practical daily experience will require effort and intention. For a deeper connection with Jesus, it will be worth it.
Reflect on the daily reading, closing with the prayer below
Monday: Psalm 46:1-11
Tuesday: Jeremiah 29:12-13
Wednesday: Mark 12:28-34
Thursday: Luke 12:22-34
Friday: Romans 12:1-2
Saturday: Philippians 4:11-13
God, we want to experience you – your love, beauty, goodness, and holiness – but we tend to crowd our lives and thoughts with many other things. Guide us into the freedom that comes with simplicity. Help us make the needed sacrifices, so we can experience the one thing we need the most. To be. With you. Amen.