Saturday, July 9, 2011

Weekend Worship—Meditations from Ethiopia #3—Material Girl

"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 not life more than food, and the body more 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:25-33

Material Girl
God spoke to me in many ways during my trip, but the lessons I learned about need and materialism were foundational. Because I am, in so many ways, a material girl. I worry about what I wear, what car I drive, even what I serve my family for supper. But while I was there those concerns melted away and I found myself concerned—or more accurately—obsessed with following God’s will.

Looking back I know there were a lot of reasons for this dynamic shift. But the biggest reason was the overwhelming need I saw on every side. Everywhere I turned, every second of the day, I saw people with needs. I’d only been in the country for a few hours when I realized how truly powerless I was to meet anyone’s need. I knew immediately that the only way I’d be of any use at all was if God chose to use me—and He could only use me if I was focused on Him.

Coming home I’ve realized how much mental and physical energy I waste on trying to fulfill my own needs. For instance, in the past when I’ve felt down or depressed, I’ve tried to pick up my spirits with a shopping trip. And it is enjoyable—at least for a while. But the newness of what I’ve acquired wears off and the depression returns. Instead of material things, what if I’d turned to God to be uplifted and inspired? That would have brought about permanent changes, instead of fleeting happiness.

Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever buy things—far from it. The Bible assures us that God wants to bless us, in many ways. But if I let God be one hundred percent in charge of what I spent my money on can you imagine the things (spiritual and physical) that would follow?
  • I wouldn’t have to worry about what I ate or drank, because God would be in charge.
  • I wouldn’t have to worry about what I wore or how I looked because that too, would be covered by God.
  • I wouldn’t even have to worry about what to do next, because His priorities would guarantee that I would have time for everything important.
Oh how real this series of verses has become to me! And what a blessing to have experienced this truth. I pray that all of us will daily find a way to live out this truth in our lives.


  1. Edie, such beautiful words and important messages. God is using your inspiration in mighty ways. Blessings on your Sabbath.

  2. Edie,

    Reading this takes me back to my trips to India and China. There is nothing like going to such places to have our perspectives transformed. So glad you had this opportunity, and so glad you are sharing it with your readers. May others be stirred to go to uncomfortable places by what you write!

  3. What a powerful lesson Edie. As Americans, we are focused on so many things that are unimportant in the big scheme of things.

    And you're right. We need to focus more on being in step with God. He can only use us if we look to Him for His will each day.

  4. Edie, I know exactly what you mean. My brother is a missionary in Mexico. There, you're either well-to-do or poor. Puts our perspective right back where it should be. But I know the Lord is happy when we change, no matter when or how.

  5. Hi Edie, you have reminded me today of what is important. I do struggle to see the important things today. It seems when I am blessed, I struggle less. Now that we have no income, I have to rely more heavily on God than ever before. Perhaps that is where he wants me. Solely responsible for me and my family, I am reminded he will not walk away. Thank you for the encouragement today!

  6. Barbara and Kay, thank you for your encouragement!
    Ellen and Karen, it's a lesson that we all struggle with.
    Laurie, I know your faithfulness will be rewarded--and it's an example to us all.
    Blessings - E

  7. Right on! And when we lived on the mission field, we didn't get caught up in having "stuff." Back in America, it was another story. After a year, Boyfriend-Who-Is-My-Husband and I were staring at each other and asking, "Where did we get all this?" And "why?"

    Chasing God and loving people. That's all that matters.

    Thanks for sharing your journey. God is enough for any of us.

  8. Beautiful message, Edie. I love the picture of you and the little girls. What a blessing for them and for you!