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.
I am in a large state of depression because of being hurt by men in a relationship. I feel like God doesn’t love me because so many people hurting me mentally and physically. I put a mask on daily to make people think I’m okay, when in reality I’m dying inside. Help me to GET BACK UP AGAIN and focus on more than my hurts,habits, and hangups. I want peace and feel my church isn’t helping me to grow for the race with Jesus. I admire loving others and need that back in my life. So YES I need God to do my shopping list. Thank You.
What a great concept! My husband and I are currently walking through a season of downsizing to enable faster debt repayment and eventually becoming debt free. Our oldest daughter who had been paying rent moved into our home and took over the payment for it and with less than 18 months left on the mortgage she will soon have a paid in full home to call her own. Once we had provision for those payments, we then packed up what we felt were the bare essentials, and moved into a 12×20 tiny house. It has been a painful lesson that we are learning, but the Lord is teaching us what matters most, and He has been so faithful to provide for our needs. Once we are debt free, hopefully within the next couple of years, we are very interested in rebuilding our lives in a God-honoring way with much less “stuff” and in never becoming enslaved to debt and things again. I look forward to reading this book and hope the Lord will use it as a tool to shape our future in a way that is pleasing to Him.
Hello, My name is Darlene Groves, I live in Rio Hondo Texas, I moved here a year ago. From Wichita Kansas, Before I moved here, I had never heard of this place. I had been praying, to God, that I wanted to help people that really need help. When I was invited to come and visit here, I knew this is where God wanted. When I joined Rio Hondo Baptist Church.
I think if God wrote my shopping list there would be more items for the food pantry, flowers for my elderly neighbor, personal care items for the homeless shelter, notes to send, and way less empty items that would make God sad.
Hi I’m Ms. Anderson.
I welcome a list from Jesus. That way I won’t have spending guilt!
On a fixed budget it can be hard to pick and choose what is important and NOT important especially if you ACTUALLY need ALL of it! Self control is a GOOD thing, and Jesus is the author of it!
Thank you for sharing!
I love this. Its great cause Ive been thinking about even before reading article. Awesome read I bet. Would love it.
We sure do have too much stuff in America – trying to teach my grandson whose father died in 2016 and whose mothers family only give him stuff not what he needs – to appreciate what he has and see others first.
This year, my husband and I downsized from a large home to 1700 square footage! That only meant we had to downsize our belongings as well! The freedom we received by letting go and passing things on to people in need, ministries and loved ones was so rewarding!
I would love to read your book!
That is such a great idea! I think I am going to get a poster so that my kids can learn that its not just them. I try to keep them from being “me” centered and I think this is a great tool. I would love to read the rest of his book!!
Thanks, Nicole. (And thanks for letting me know you are in the U.S. I got your P.O. Box, just removed it from being published.)
I would love a copy of your book. Lately the Lord has been showing me how we have become accumulators of too much. By we I mean my family. Not surprising since we live in a consumerist society. But I want to pare down. I am sure there are lots of other things on Gods list as well.
Yes, I would love if God wrote my shopping list. It would be like my trips to Food Lion with my husband “No, that’s not on our budget, or “I believe we should skip those delicious but, loaded carbs attached to that package” and or “let’s just utilize this brand to appease our flesh on this trip.” God’s ways and wisdom is there to help us. As we well know the bible tells us “His ways are better than our ways.” Our walk is to obey His knowledge towards our journey. As my friend says in his humble state “What’s next Lord?”
Thank you for sharing your wisdom with some reminders we all need!
As l get older, I’m realizing that life is not about “things”. It’s about people and experiences.
Im trying to pray for & direct my finances to others who need basic life necessities such as food and water.
Would love to have a copy of this.
Were God to ‘rewrite my shopping list’; I think he would edit my purchases of personal ‘things’, to the purchase of Bibles, to give out as led by the Holy Spirit…especially at our weekly food pantry.
I am a public school teacher, and I’ve always been so touched by the gifts I receive from my students…a simple notebook page lovingly decorated with pencil drawings, a bit of colored clay fashioned into a rose petal. I think these gifts reflect the heart of the giver much more than a purchased gift so maybe the things on a shopping list written by my Creator would include the “basics” — colored chalk to create a message on my neighborhood sidewalk, crayons for a child in the hospital, lunch sacks to make into puppets for school kids waiting for the bus, a packet of tea and a Bible verse for someone coming out of dialysis, bottles of water with Scriptures written on them for construction workers along the roadside…
That is the most amazing thing – I actually would love to know where you got the shower curtain. I have a 12 yr old son who is high functioning autistic and for the past 5 years has been fighting an autoimmune disease/juvenile arthritis with EOE. He has really gotten into maps (geography) and history. It has helped him developed a desire to see and learn all about the world and God’s creation. We have started traveling some in the USA because he plays wheelchair basketball – so he has gotten to see so much. We have a huge map of the USA on the wall in the kitchen – and he will put push pins in all the places we visit. We recently found a magnet license plate game to play while we are on the road and it has increase his conversations and desires with seeing places and meeting people. Your book sounds so awesome and I would love to read it hopefully one day soon. I can say after losing my home and most of my stuff due to taking care of my son and other children – you really learn what is important. Have a blessed week.
We bought that curtain years ago at Bed, Bath and Beyond. But it’s available online for @$15!
I need to read this. I imagine a perspective change. There would probably be less automatic purchases.
Oh, what a beautiful lesson. Your idea was brilliant. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while. Maybe a framed map of the world.
If God wrote my shopping list, the definitely would be money spent helping others. Serving in faraway countries where the gospel is never heard.
My life is full of too much stuff. My house is full of too much stuff. My work plate is far too full. Its all driving me crazy. If i stopped baking (mostly for others), I could downsize my kitchen by half.
If I never had a deck I would have all the furniture for it and have to have a space to store it over winters. I definitely could use a lot less cloths. I havent bought much new in several years but had lots when I worked in an office for years and just havent change sizes much so still wearing it. If I never had a freezer, I would be forced to shop as I go for fresh food. Decisions decisions decisions. Yes, I need to clean up, and I need more time for friends and family. All I do is work work work.
Wow, what an eye opening thought oF God writing my grocery list!
We downsized a year ago by selling everything…home, cars & furniture. We are full time RVing seeing the U.S. I see many places that I want to help with God’s grocery list.
Would love to read Jay’s book.
Thanks for sharing this with me.
Very intriguing to have the grocery list that God has for me and my hubby. It’s apparent in our society that we accumulate far too many “things” that have no substance and are interesting for the moment and then packed away in a crowded closet or garage. My two sons were victims of the Camp Fire where they lost everything material. It was difficult at first but they experienced the outpouring of love and essentials they needed to begin a new life in surrounding areas. It made me realize how blessed I am to have more than basics, and to help others as they struggle to survive. This concept continued to be strengthened by reading about how we need to end world hunger and poverty through our giving. In the book by Scott Todd, Hope Rising, it demonstrates that through the transformative Christian generosity it can be a possibility. I hope to downsize and to put my finances to work to eradicate the poverty I see in my community with the homeless that line the freeways and parking lots. I know I can learn more about God’s grocery list and how it can impact my daily life.
Congratulations to Lara Polk, Jacqueline Walton, Nicole Cappel and Jayne Stephenson for winning a free copy of Jay’s book, “What if God Wrote Your Shopping List”? And a special thanks to all of you for your great comments. Jay and I sure appreciate you and there will be another chance next month to win another one of Jay’s titles.
If God wrote my shopping list I am sure there would be basic food, no soda, no frills. I often pray for the poor, hungry, those without water, throughout the world. But this phrase will forever come back to me when I am looking at fancy food, shoes, clothing, jewelry, home decor. This phrase with the small article had deeply impacted my life. God Bless All Of You, Now And Always.
Thanks for your response, Marguerite.