Richard J. Foster, in a book titled, The Freedom of Simplicity writes, “Our contemporary culture is plagued by the passion to possess. The unreasoned boast abounds that the good life is found in accumulation, that “more is better.” (Richard Foster. The Freedom of Simplicity. New York: Harper & Row, 1981. p. 3) Another way of saying it is “The one with the most toys wins.” Christian simplicity can free us from this modern mania. It brings sanity to our compulsive extravagance, and peace to our frantic spirit. It allows us to see material things for what they should be: goods to enhance life, not to oppress life. People once again can become more important than possessions.
Today’s worship service has shown us that children can lead us. Our children have led us in the welcome, music, prayers, in Scripture reading, and in other aspects of worship. The children worked with our ushers in handing-out the bulletins and received our offering. I found that mental picture symbolic of the verse from Isaiah 11:6, “a little child shall lead them.” Our children can lead us, but our children can teach us too. As a parent, I learned from my children on a regular basis; most parents do, as evident by this article entitled “Things I’ve Learned from my Children… (Honest and No Kidding).” I am not sure who wrote it, but listen to some things that parents have learned from their children:
This morning’s New Testament lesson records the calling of Matthew as a disciple of Jesus. Matthew was hated by the Jewish people and may have been the most unlikely candidate for being called as a disciple. He was a tax collector for the Roman government, but the big deal was that the Romans controlled the Jews. Those who were tax collectors were told to get money for the government, which they did, but they also charged whatever they wanted. There were no newspapers, radio, television or internet, so the taxes were not published for all to see. The court system did not allow the Jewish people to challenge the tax collectors either. Besides all that, the Jewish people had been taught that their greatest allegiance was to God as their King, and they had trouble paying taxes to someone who claimed to be greater than their God. Biblical commentator William Barclay records that by Jewish law, a tax-gatherer was debarred from the synagogue. (William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 1, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975, p. 330) Matthew was hated.