This is a post that I have wanted to write for a while now, but again, as I've said before, I'm a procrastinator. I first had the idea for this post back in September, before I even had a blog. It was just a few days after my birthday and I was up one morning listening to Beth Moore on Life Today. At the end of the show, they showed a clip of different children in Africa who didn't have any shoes, and were asking that donations be made to send shoes to those children for Christmas.
I had just bought a pair of new shoes from Kohl's the day before, and they were a little uncomfortable, but I decided to give them a try. When I heard about the Christmas shoe drive, I instantly thought to take the shoes back to Kohl's and use the money to send shoes over to Africa. I now look back and realize that this thought was from God, because my next thought was, "but those heels are so cute." Yes, I am embarrassed to share this with you all, but my desire more than anything is to be real. I never want to portray having a perfect, trouble free life, where my relationship with God is never tested.
I went on about my day and didn't really think much more about the shoes. As I was driving home from class that night, I was listening to a CD that had some new Tenth Avenue North songs on it. One of the songs was called All the Pretty Things. I was somewhat mindlessly singing along, when the Holy Spirit hit me like a ton of bricks. Suddenly I felt the Lord saying to me, "You're loving all the pretty things, Ashley." (The way I usually know that God is trying to get through to me, is when I have a thought I know I could not have possibly thought of on my own.) Tears came to my eyes as I asked the Lord to forgive me and rid me of myself and all my selfish ambitions. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed as I knew there were no excuses, only selfishness.
As I have thought more on this, I have learned (and am daily learning) the importance of first time obedience. I have also been thinking about how we place so much importance on material possessions and how in the end, none of it is going to matter. When I face God before the throne, He is not going to care about the house I lived in, the car I drove, if I wore designer clothes (and shoes ;), etc. What he is going to ask is,"How well did you love? Did you love with all that you had and shine my light in a dark world? Did you do everything possible to spread the gospel of my Son, and reach lost souls?" (I don't really know that He will say it like that, but I do know we will have to give an account of how we spent our days on Earth.) The greatest desire of my soul is to hear Him say, "Well done good and faithful servant."
So, after pondering all these things, I began to look up different Bible verses regarding material possessions, storing up Heavenly treasure, having all our needs met by the Lord, etc. Here are some that I came across:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." -Matthew 6: 19-21
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is life not more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" -Matthew 6:25-26
"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." -Colossians 3:2
"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." -Isaiah 46:4
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:19
"You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." -Psalm 145:16
The book of Ecclesiastes is also jammed pack with different verses about material possessions and such, as King Solomon writes how they are all meaningless. This is coming from a man who had it all; wealth, endless possessions, pleasure, fame, etc. You name it, he had it. He even says in Ecc. 2:10, "I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure." He then goes on to say in verse 11, "Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." Did you catch it? He described everything he had and had done as, "a chasing after the wind."
I get the sense that this is exactly what we are doing; chasing after the wind, trying to fill the void with stuff. I once heard a song that said, "There's a God shaped hole in all of us, and the restless soul is searching. There's a God shaped hole in all of us, and it's a void only He can fill." How true is that? We try to fill the void with anything possible; wealth, materials, relationships... the list goes on and on. However, I can tell you from personal experience, that until you surrender your life to Christ and find pure satisfaction in Him, you will never find rest for your restless soul.
So, with all these things being said, I want to encourage you to lay all your cares down at His nail pierced feet, and allow the God of all comfort to completely fulfill all your desires. My prayer is the same as that of the writer in Proverbs 30:8 who said, "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread." Let's stop looking at all the pretty things and focus fully on the beautiful One.