I remember the first time I sat down to use a Macintosh computer at Harding University. The last computer I had used regularly was an ACE 1000 that ran WordStar for a word processor. It did not have a mouse and took taking a computer class to learn how to use it and some of the software for it. Needless to say, I was a little apprehensive about using this new computer. To my delight, I found that it was very easy to use. Things opened up in a window, and you could point and click on things rather than have to remember what command to type on the line next to a blinking dos prompt or which function key to press. The computer even smiled at me as it was booting up!
I remember when many people were afraid of computers. They seemed so complicated to us. Indeed, they were more complicated in the early days than they are now. The added simplicity of use has made computers more "user-friendly" and simple to use and now nearly everyone has one.
Simplicity. That is such a powerful thing. No one likes things to be overly complicated. The easier to understand and use, the better. The same could be said for religion. Religion in the days of Christ was indeed a complicated matter. Many of the religious elite made following God a complicated matter. When their oral teachings were committed to writing, one needed to study countless pages of material, some of which contradicted each other, depending on the rabbi it came from. This was considered authoritative teaching. Jesus' teaching was so different. In the sermon on the mount, he got right to the point. He pointed to the spirit of the law rather than all the minutiae. He did not quote any rabbis or engage in doctrinal hair-splitting. It was accessible, learnable, and even the simpletons could understand it. They followed him around hanging on his every word. The demands for discipleship were not easy, but they were not complicated either. They were simple, but the expectations were set high and made crystal clear.
Do we understand God's expectations and do we communicate them clearly? Do we engage in hair-splitting, obscure what is important, and complicate God's instruction, or do we look at the big picture and clearly communicate God's directions for us? What is the point of Gospel? What is our relationship to the Gospel before and after we become a Christian? The answer to these important questions are rather simple. God wants us to love him above all else in a relationship, so he took care of the sin problem through the Gospel and we now carry out his mission and purposes as the transformed people of God.
The temptation is to take the simple and make it complex. Complexity can look impressive, but it often robs power from the simple. Jesus did not make following God complex, but made it simple. There is power in that simplicity that can touch both the scholar and the simple minded man in the boonies. We need to keep it simple as our Lord did.