PRAYER OF CONSECRATION
Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
Jesus, I belong to you.
I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.
Jesus, we belong to you.
Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.
“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?”
The passage asks a question that addresses the condition of a culture defined by excessive consumption and marked by a pervasive lack of contentment.
I bet it wouldn’t take any of us much time to list out what we spend our time, money, and energy on that leaves us feeling unsatisfied. We need only pull out our bank statements, look at our screen time reports, or consider what we spent most of our time thinking about in the last week. Identifying what is the easy part.
But the question here isn’t about what we spend our resources on. The question has to do with why.
God is often more interested in why we do what we do, than what we’re actually doing. Why goes beyond what is obvious at surface level and pierces to the unseen depths of our motivations.
Jesus frequently called out the distorted whys of the religious leaders: self-exaltation, self-righteousness, and self-indulgence. All of these hid behind various spiritual whats: prayer, generosity, and fasting.
Asking what looks at behavior. Asking why looks at the heart.
This question is not intended to condemn us or shame us. God is in the business of bringing about the restoration of all things. Honest recognition of our why is a step toward experiencing more of the freedom and wholeness Jesus offers.
God loves it when we’re honest. He operates in the truth. We cannot be free from that which we don’t know is keeping us in bondage.
Some whys don’t go away as easily—things like selfish ambition, control, insecurity, and pride. But they hold less power and influence over us every time they are brought into the light. Thankfully, God works in spite of (and sometimes through) our impure intentions or any complex baggage at play in the background.
Naming our whys is an act of defiance against the flesh and a version of Christianity that cares only about what is seen. We name our whys, not to feel bad about ourselves or will ourselves into being better, but because we know the one who can heal and transform them.
This level of transformation takes time. It’s a lifelong process of saying yes to Jesus over and over and over. Though we may desire for everything to be resolved in a moment, we are not the architects of our own formation. We are the clay. He is the potter. Our role isn’t to mold ourselves but to stay pliable on the wheel, surrendered to his touch as he molds, repairs, and reshapes us into vessels designed for his purposes and glory.
In an act of surrender, let’s step onto the wheel and see what our potter has in store for us today.
Come, Holy Spirit. I lay down my heart before you and open myself up to you. I silence the voice of condemnation and shame and welcome your voice of correction, which leads to life. Nothing in me is off-limits to you. I know that I can trust you. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23–24). Amen.
Today, our text is the question: “Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy?”
- Identifying what is a helpful first step to answering why. Is there anything that comes to mind that has cost you time, money, labor, etc., and left you feeling unsatisfied? If you are able, I’d encourage you to write down whatever comes to your mind. Maybe you’ve spent more time looking at a screen recently than you’d like to admit. Or money on material goods that you didn’t need? Or maybe it’s something related to your work? Keep in mind that some of these whats may be things that aren’t inherently bad.
- Let’s invite the Spirit to search our hearts a little further. Take some time to consider what you’ve written down, and for each of your whats, ask yourself why. Maybe your why is along the lines of avoidance—avoiding pain, loneliness, or disappointment? Maybe you’re grabbing for control that’s beyond your scope. Or maybe you’re seeking validation or approval from others.
- Our distorted whys are typically rooted in one (or multiple) of the following things: sins, lies, or wounds. Whatever it is, bring your why before Jesus. What’s your best sense of what he might be saying to you? Is there a step he is inviting you to take? Maybe it’s spending time in repentance? Confessing it to your band? Asking for healing? Whatever has come up in this time, don’t pass it by.
For the Awakening,
Anna Grace Legband