What’s on your shopping list? Does it reflect an investment in stuff? Or in people?
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.
“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
- 5 Links, Books, and Things I Love – August 2019
- You Have a Safety Net. Take the Risk.