Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's the Simple Stuff

My friend from World Vision called me today and talked about his recent trip to Malawi. The projects they visited were a series of wells for villages. The results were dramatic: before the wells a nigh percentage of children died from diarrhea. After the wells, hardly any children died. It's the simple gift of clean water.
Monday night I was in a committee hearing a presentation by a group working in Ethiopia to fight a disease I never heard about: mossy foot. The soil is impregnated with microscopic bits of obsidian from past volcanoes. When farmers plow fields bare-footed, these pieces of glass get into the lymphatic system and create terribly distorted and infected feet. People with mossy foot become outcasts due to the ugliness, fear of transmission and bad smell. The solution is simple: shoes, and foot washing with soap and water. Its the simple stuff that works best.
As a pastor, I need to direct people to the simple stuff: soap, water, bread, and light. Complexity is attractive because it looks sophisticated and impressive. But it seldom yields the results it promises. I'm clearly not a Luddite (given my love of blogging and the web) but we can get so distracted by organization complexity and forget the one, life-giving well.
For me, the well in my life has been the daily exercise of Bible first. Before the New York Times, before email and voice-mail, before the blogs, before the scattered magazines and journals, before TV or radio....I am sitting down the the Bible, pen and cup of coffee and reading for 45 minutes to an hour....and the interior results are amazing! It's the simple stuff.


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