I recently decided to join the scrapbooking craze. Without any supplies or materials, I visited one of our local stores to stock-up on a few “necessary” items. I found the scrapbooking section and immediately became lost in the vast selection of books, tools, papers, adhesives, stickers, stamps, and all of the many other accessory items available for purchase. I soon realized that I was way in over my head, so I placed a few “emergency calls” to a few girlfriends to seek their counsel on the best book to buy, the best binding, the best types of paper, etc. (Thank the good Lord for cell phones!)
One hundred dollars later, I walked out of that store and recognized a familiar pressure plaguing my conscience. “Did I really just spend that much money on a hobby? Was that really the best use of the money the Lord has entrusted to me and my husband? Speaking of my husband, despite his constant loving support of my decisions, would he really agree that the expense was worth it in this case?” These questions were flooding my mind as I placed my full plastic bags into the trunk of my car. “Sure, I wanted to preserve our precious family memories for generations, but was this the most economical way to go about it?” As I pulled out of the parking lot, my conscience continued to plague me. Recognizing that something must be wrong, I took a moment to search my heart before the Lord as I sat at a red light: “Lord, I confess that I do not have a clear conscience about the way that I spent your money. But, I confess that as I stand before you, I don’t exactly know the reason my conscience is bothering me. Is it really just an issue of stewardship, or is there something else there? Please show me the sinfulness of my heart so that I can confess it before you and seek your grace to repent of it.”
By the time the light turned green, it dawned on me: “I was not trusting in the Lord!” I stocked-up on a couple of scrapbooking books because I wanted to be sure to have enough on-hand in case I were to run out of room in the first book. I had purchased so many accessory items because I was afraid that I might not have the opportunity to do so again for a while. See, I was not trusting the Lord to provide for me. I needed to provide these things for myself. My sin (bad stewardship of the Lord’s money entrusted to me) in this situation was driven by fear, which is the case in most sinful situations. I was afraid that the Lord would not provide these things for me; therefore, I had to get them myself. I was not acknowledging the Lord’s character or proven history faithfulness. I overspent on these items because in my heart I had de-throned God as King and sovereign Ruler over my life, and placed myself there for a time. My well-being, my prosperity, my providence needed to come from my own hand because there was no one else of higher authority who would oversee these things for me. This also reveals my affection for the things of the world, as by the end of my shopping experience, I felt as though I had to have all of those scrapbooking things.
By God’s grace, I was still close enough to the shopping center to turn my car around, go back inside, and return most of the items for a full refund. I was so grateful for the Lord’s loving lesson and for the opportunity to not only see my sin and confess it, but also for the grace to repent as well.
Can shopping really honor God? Well, as I learned, it can certainly dishonor God if the driving motivation for our purchases is anything other than thanksgiving; if we are not prudent in our purchasing options or become poor stewards of the money God has entrusted to us; and if we are more consumed with the things of this world than with pleasing God, then shopping can certainly dishonor God. May God grant us all the grace to live for His glory in ALL areas of life … even when shopping!