I was at Michaels, standing in the middle of the aisle with seasonal home goods that were marked with red tags, when a holy voice from heaven sounded, booming loud into my chest, saying,
Get the thing, you need the thing. It’s everything you ever wanted, and it’s on sale. Get the thing!
I pulled my hand away from the shelf and stopped caressing the wooden signs and flower wreath. I paused and stood there in that moment. There was no booming voice from heaven. God did not tell me to get the thing. It was my own wishful, wanting heart — I told me to get the thing.
Never has it ever been promised that we would have every beautiful thing that makes our hearts flutter and our homes perfect. Never has it ever been said that we should shop and buy and Amazon Prime all the things, even if they are on sale.
Not that shopping at Target makes us transgressors; we do not suddenly become sinners if we run up receipts at Stop and Shop. But when buying all the things turns into something we do to fill the holes in our hearts, there lies within us an invitation to explore:
Do we reach for the rack of clothes because we need something that fits or because we want to fit in with every fashion trend on Instagram? Do we need the tenth version of that cell phone because it’s really broken beyond repair or because we absolutely, positively have to have it? Do we Amazon Prime all the things to the front door because we need to or simply because we want, want, want?
These are the thoughts we don’t like pressing into because we like the thoughts we already have. We like hearing, Get the thing. You need the thing. But if we don’t allow God’s Spirit to rise up in us, we will never fully do and be the things that He is calling us to when it comes to spending money and shopping, especially when it comes to joining Him in His kingdom work.
We can let God’s thoughts, His truths, sing over us while we are at the stores and scrolling shops online. His voice, if we let it, can speak contentment and discernment right into us. He calls us out and presses every heart to ponder.
I can’t help but think of the man from Mark 10:17, who ran and fell to his knees before Jesus, desperately asking, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus spoke right to the soul of the man and told him to go and sell all the things, to sell every possession and to give to the poor. But the man grieved to hear Jesus say this. “His face fell,” the gospel tells us. Sucker-punched right to the soul, he went from a certain kind of eager desperation, to shattered and sorrowful. And he walked away.
So many times I have read that passage and compared myself to the man thinking, I would have sold my possessions and followed Jesus; I would have given everything I had to the poor. But I’ve come to realize that Jesus’ point goes beyond the mere giving and selling of stuff. It’s really about how we react and respond when God puts His finger on those unyielding places in our hearts.
Do we frown and pout and back ourselves out of the conversation when we sense Him whispering that we don’t need the pretty pillow, even if it really is hand-stitched by Joanna Gaines herself? When it comes down to it, do we really need clocks and crates in every corner for someone to “feel” the peace of God in our homes? Do we need suede sandals in every color and ten wide-rimmed hats to feel breathtaking and beautiful? Or will we take Him at His word when He says we really are wonderfully made?
When your hand reaches for the shelf with the home goods marked with red tags, ask yourself: What is my heart reaching for? What is my soul seeking out?
And don’t check yourself against all of the right things that you are doing — that holy to-do list of reading the Bible, streaming worship, and reposting every graphic with God’s name on it. Check yourself against how you respond when Jesus speaks the words into your soul: You don’t need that thing right now, daughter. Do you swell with wonder, dreaming up the ways God could instead use your money, your resources, your knack for creatively curating beautiful things for the mission of His kingdom? Or do you walk away grieved with your face fallen?