Shooting out of bed with holy fire, I emailed the founder and CEO of the publishing company. A few months prior we had chatted about a position that I wanted and she wanted me to fill, but I could not financially work out. I was certain there would not be enough to pay the bills.
But now was the time to jump. I could feel it in my bones.
Over the months since we chatted, God had been busy. At first, when it didn’t work out, I thought He was only working on my heart. I desperately wanted to leave my corporate job that was always a drain on my self-worth. Every day they wanted me to work harder, deprioritize my kids and my own health, only to be told it was never enough. I knew God wanted me to rest in His love through this daily battle as I repeated truth to myself again and again. I was getting better at it, but the cry of my soul remained the same. “God,” I would plead every day, “I would love to work for you and your Kingdom and out of this grind full-time. If it is your will, please make a way”.
So, when I woke up that morning, just three days before the new year, with the realization that He had made a way, I was pumped and ready to jump. He worked on my heart and made a way while I waited. Go, God!
At the beginning of December, my husband had come home with the news that his promotion came with a new monthly commission. It would not equal my earnings, but it could be enough if we laid down some things we probably did not need. I was willing. It would be tight, but I really wanted this radical life change of laying down what seemed like financial security and material wealth.
I had experienced firsthand how it did not fulfill me. Chasing physical security and material wealth the American way literally drained the life out of me. I needed a new way and God had made one for me. I just needed to trust Him more than a secure income, and that was hard.
Before this season I never considered myself materialistic. I am not really drawn to things. I love the bargain bin and Target is my jam. But when God asked me to move to the new role and I couldn’t it became so clear how attached I am to a steady income. It made me feel secure. But it also stole the good life that God had planned for me. A life of serving Him with my whole life and allowing Him to be the provider.
And this is the point. Materialism is defined as: a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values. I am certainly materialistic by this definition, and I know I am not alone.
Humans are drawn to the notion that life is in the physical realm. Thoughts such as I must feed, clothe and shelter my physical body are at the forefront of our concerns. And while we do need these things, I think we all know life is much more than physical comfort. We all know stories of people who seem to have every physical comfort you could gain in the world who are still dissatisfied with their lives. And yet, we continue to act as though material things will fulfill us instead of following God.
Jesus cuts to the heart of this talking to the people he fed in the miracle feeding of 5000.
Now the crowd is looking for him and when they find him He reveals their motivations. “Truly, truly I say to you, you are seeking me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the good that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” John 6:26-27
Now, I don’t think that God calls us all out of working in the secular world. The point here is to be willing to follow God with our whole life knowing that He will care for us as we follow. Jesus also said, "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33
God made us physical beings. He knows what we need to live. So we can trust him which allows us to break up with materialism still living in the physical realm and find the glorious life He wants to give us. It's a trust fall worth taking. God has proven Himself faithful again and again.
Father, you are the great provider. The good Father who is looking out for His children. Help us to lay down our natural bent toward the material and trust you to care for us. We want to follow in great obedience, but trust is the first step. Increase our faith to trust you with our physical lives as well as our spirit. Thank you for your constant grace and goodness toward us even as we don't deserve it. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“Hey, all who are thirsty, come to the water!
You who have no money, come!
Buy and eat!
Come! Buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why pay money for something that will not nourish you?
Why spend your hard-earned money on something that will not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me and eat what is nourishing!
Enjoy fine food.
Pay attention and come to me.
Listen, so you can live.
Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to you,
just like the reliable covenantal promises I made to David.
Isa 55:1-3 NET