Have you ever wondered how you might spend money differently if God wrote your shopping list? In other words, what if we all thoughtfully invested our energy and resources into only stuff that made a difference?
First, I think we’d all have less “stuff.” Secondly, our view of the world would change. We’d experience a little more love. And a little less selfishness.
My friend, author and speaker Jay Payleitner, came up with 52 possible items to buy or truths to pursue in his latest book titled, What If God Wrote Your Shopping List? The book includes Jay’s hunch that God might want us to stop at lemonade stands, set alarm clocks, use our library cards, sit in rocking chairs, and spend more time with a red-letter Bible.
Here’s Jay with one item on God’s shopping list that took him by complete surprise. (And if you leave a comment at the end you could win a free, signed copy of Jay’s book.)
Several years back, we needed a shower curtain for our four boys who were past the age of teddy bears and cartoon monkeys. Nothing fancy. Just something that kept the water in the tub.
What we ended up purchasing turned out to be a fantastic, mind-expanding addition to their educational and spiritual well-being. It was a world map curtain featuring a visual representation of all 190+ countries on the planet. For less than $20.
Suddenly, every shower became a geography lesson. While they lathered and rinsed, they noticed how three fairly large western states bordered the Pacific Ocean and 14 smaller states bordered the Atlantic. They discovered the boot of Italy, the expanse of the former Soviet Union, the Mediterranean and Red Seas, the islands of Iceland, Ireland, Madagascar, Cuba, and Tasmania.
Most importantly, the six-foot wide shower curtain served as visual proof that a world exists beyond their own neighborhood.
That’s a concept we all need to grasp. Each of us needs to develop a heart for people in every corner of the earth. After all, Jesus’ final instruction to His followers was to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20). That outreach begins with our families, neighborhood, and community. But we also have a responsibility to move beyond our small sphere of influence and outside our comfort zone.
For some that means praying intentionally for lost people in faraway places. For others that might mean packing up and moving to the other side of the world for the purpose of sharing the gospel with people who live on one of those brightly colored spots on your shower curtain.
Maybe you’re called to become involved partners with trustworthy ministries like Voice of the Martyrs, Prison Fellowship, and Bible League who know how to cut through bureaucracies to deliver truth and love in tangible ways to people you may never meet on this side of heaven.
As our minds attempt to grasp the idea of close to nine billion people living in 190 countries, a humility should probably wash over each of us. In one sense, we’re each just a speck of dust. But God’s love gives us purpose. His heart is big enough to love you, me, and every one of our neighbors on the planet. And He wants us to do the same.
I’m not sure if a multicolored world map shower curtain fits into the décor of your master bathroom. Actually, I’m sure it doesn’t. Maybe you don’t even have a shower. But you do have room in your home for a globe, wall map, or world atlas. Next time you start to feel like the world revolves around you, spin that globe, study that map, or flip through that atlas.
If you start to feel small, that’s okay. Just remember you have the ability and responsibility to plug into the power that created not just the world, but the entire universe.
Last thought: I seem to remember a Bible verse that begins, “For God so loved the world . . . “ Ever hear it?
Ok, my readers, Jay and I would love to hear how your life might be impacted if God wrote YOUR shopping list. Let us know in the comment section below and you could win one of a few copies of his book he is giving away to my readers. (U.S. mailing addresses or A.P.O. boxes only please.)
Jay Payleitner is a national speaker and author of more than 25 books including 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? andThe Jesus Dare. Track him down at jaypayleitner.com.