This week I had the privilege of taking the funeral of the mother of a good friend of mine. I met her a number of times over the last 20 years, and she was one of the most consistently cheerful people you could wish to meet. As I planned the funeral and talked to her son, I think I had a slight revelation regarding his mum’s cheerful and optimistic attitude: she managed to keep life simple! Her aspirations, her view of material things, her expectations of others: they were all very low maintenance. This lady’s life was not without its challenges and difficulties but she didn’t live disappointed or angry or at odds with anyone!
I’m drawn to Philippians 4:4-7, where Paul exhorts us to ‘rejoice in the Lord’. It sounds like straight forward advice but there’s the implication here that other attitudes and focusses can creep in! In verse 6 Paul says, ‘Do not be anxious about anything.’ This is the opposite of the ability to rejoice! Anxiety is so common in our world, and perfectly understandable for those who have not put their trust in Jesus. For those who are ‘in the Lord’, Paul says, ‘Rejoice… the Lord is at hand.’ Maybe your instinct is to think that life is way too complicated to avoid the avalanche of worry. If that’s how we feel, then today’s challenges are for us: draw closer to the Lord, rejoice in what we have, worry less about what we can’t change, and simplify!