What’s on Your Spiritual Shopping List?

What’s on your shopping list? Does it reflect an investment in stuff? Or in people?

What's on your shopping list

I put the salad in an old Cool Whip bowl. The brownies in a plastic baggie. The rice in a cleaned-out Panda Express bowl.

Sometimes we collect things with no thought; other times, for a purpose.

My friend Kathy had had knee surgery a few days earlier. I wanted to take her a home-cooked meal. But I didn’t want to make it harder on her to keep up with a bunch of dishes that needed returning.

So with the exception of a glass casserole dish with the enchiladas I’d baked, I used disposable containers that I’d collected that she could throw away instead of having to wash and return.

And I could have used a disposable casserole dish, too, if I’d been better prepared.

The Things You Buy

Maybe that’s why #14, “Disposable Serving Trays” is on Jay Payleitner’s shopping list. It’s one of 52 things on his list of ways to find freedom from stuff in his newest book, What If God Wrote Your Shopping List.

Payleitner says #14 is for people with the gift of service and who can make at least one decent casserole.

Well, that’s not really me. I don’t have a natural gifting of service. (I can debate with myself for days on whether or not to take a meal before I finally decide to do it.) But I can make at least one decent casserole (it’s usually lasagna).

So Payleitner including #14 on his list convicts me. He goes on to caveat it with this:

“What if making and delivering meals just isn’t your thing? The basic principles still apply.

Invest your time, talent, and treasure in a ministry that might be under the radar. One that meets the real needs of real people.

Sometimes strangers. Raise your hand and be part of a handyman ministry for single moms and seniors. Visit shut-ins and nursing homes. Do community gardens for free vegetable distribution. Or just make sure that your neighbors’ snow gets shoveled or grass get mowed when the need arises.”

Many of our ministries may be under the radar. That’s why Payleitner’s shopping list doesn’t include big, expensive things, but ordinary things.

The things we buy—or don’t buy—should reflect an investment in people, not just in stuff, as tools to show love, including to ourselves.

Such as, #2: Mirror

“God has always seen you as beautiful, but if you have been redeemed, you are covered with the righteousness of Christ because of the cross.

The one ugly thing about you—your sin—has been washed away by his blood. That person in the mirror is a new creation.

Every time you look in the mirror, you would do well to make that your very first thought.”

And #35: Books to Give Away

“For sure, some books you’ll want to keep on your own shelf for future reference or to reread. But most of the time, when you finish a book, the best course of action is to give it to someone who came to mind while you were reading it. No strings attached.”

And #3: Lemonade Stand Lemonade

“This item on God’s shopping list is not something you can plan. But when God gives you the opportunity, don’t miss it. Make it a rule. When driving through a neighborhood and you happen upon a classic lemonade stand set up and manned by young entrepreneurs around middle school age, always stop and buy a glass of lemonade.

Let your generous spirit, hope for the next generation, and thirst guide you. Champion ambitious young people.”

Stuff that Matters Isn’t Stuff

Obviously this book isn’t really a shopping list from God. But the point is clear: We don’t want to waste our time and resources on things that distract and dishonor.

Payleitner says,

“The people who sell stuff never tell you that the stuff that really matters isn’t stuff.”

Kathy was happy with the meal I brought. And she likely was also happy that she wouldn’t have to keep up with the dishes.

But like the rest of us, she was probably most happy that she was loved, regardless of my culinary skills.

It’s the gift of love that we want most to give.

And as Payleitner says about item #14, Disposable Serving Trays, the point is this:

 “When you give, make your gift easy to receive.”

May our shopping lists reflect love easily given, love easily received.

* * *

What’s an item God would want on YOUR shopping list? Other things on Payleitner’s list include: Good Night’s Sleep, Mustard, and World Map Shower Curtain. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

My thanks to Net Galley
for the review copy of this book

9 thoughts on “What’s on Your Spiritual Shopping List?

  1. Martha J Orlando

    “When you give, make your gift easy to receive.”
    I love that line, Lisa! And of course, you’ve given us another good recommendation for what sounds like a great book. May we all hone our spiritual shopping lists.

  2. Laurie

    What wonderful advice! I do keep a trove of disposable containers to use to give food away (my go-to is lasagne too), but I never thought of giving my books to the person I thought of while reading it. I love that idea. I am going to start doing it today.

  3. bill (cycleguy)

    The older I get the more I realize stuff doesn’t really matter. And after cleaning out a hoarder’s apartment this past month, I’m ready to purge even more. I prefer to invest in people anyway. Good thoughts today Lisa. Hope your visit with your granddaughter (oh and her parents) went well.

  4. Barbara Harper

    I love when people bring meals with disposable containers. It’s hard to deal with multiple extra containers that people bring food in, both in space (they don’t fit anywhere so usually stay out on the counter til I can return them) and keeping them straight. Great idea to make your gift easy to receive.

    Sounds like a great resource for keeping others in mind in regard to our stuff.

  5. Michele Morin

    Now I don’t feel so strange!
    I have a collection of containers, just the right size for sending leftovers home with guests who “need” them.
    And I’ve recently started buying disposable baking dishes. So much easier!!

  6. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Excellent notions, Lisa, and I ALWAYS stop at lemonade stands. Always. Or I walk home and get $! I do not want their lemonade, but I always give them a generous donation “for the cause”! Wow the last stand was something else. These kids had an entrepreneurial spirit…. not just lemonade, but brownies, which my husband did buy and did eat! But here is the deal. They spoke on a walkie-talkie to their kitchen crew, and whatever your order was delivered on a tiny remote truck which sped from kitchen down the driveway to the stand on the sidewalk. It drove their dog nuts! 🙂 I am also more frequently trying to give books away, and if I can see it is a good read, but not one I will savor again or use as reference, I’m trying to refrain from highlighting and writing in them. But, frankly, that is rare. I learn better that way. But some of my really well-loved books are dated repeatedly and scribbled beyond recognition. some of those I have finally gained all I’m going to have to gain from them, and have reluctantly had to pitch them. Yes, Virginia, you may throw out a book. Those comments I’d written were far too personal for consumption by others; plus, they would have been hard pressed to read the actual text! 🙂

    I always am fascinated by what you share. Hope all is well w/ you!

  7. Pam Morrison

    This is beautiful. As we mature and think about life as a series of opportunities to love others well, things like disposable serving containers move to the top of our lists. Simple, often unseen service makes God smile, I am sure!

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