“Humble in sorrow, You gladly carried Your cross
Never refusing Your life to the weakest of us
Not too proud to bear our sin
to feel this brokenness we’re in
Humble, humble Jesus”
These are lyrics from “Humble” on Audrey Assad’s new record Fortunate Fall. They’ve been lingering in my head and heart all week. As I sit sipping my coffee this morning, I’ve been pondering money, bills, budgeting, spending… you know. The fun adult things in life. I’ve been struck with the realization that I spend too much money. I love shoes, I love purses, I love clothes, I love jewelry… and coffee, OH COFFEE!!!! And, I’ve always justified it because I’m single and I don’t have to provide for anyone else! Now is the time for me to indulge my fashion and coffee weaknesses, because later in life, I probably won’t have that luxury. Hopefully I’ll have kids to spend my money on and a husband who will gently remind me to STOP buying shoes! I am by no means financially “in trouble”, but does that mean I shouldn’t be wise about how I use my money? One of the conclusions I’ve come to recently is that I’m not always honest with myself when it comes to my money and spending. I need to remind myself to think through if the shoes in my hands are really a necessity just because they’re $7.50 on clearance?? Do I really need that second coffee today? I’m not writing all of this to give you all another lecture on money and saving, etc, but rather to challenge your perspective on what is important and what will ultimately impact the Kingdom of God.
The culture we live in says that more is better. Bigger is better. Expensive is better. Famous is better. Status means everything. Brand name means everything. Diet means everything. I could go on and on. But what REALLY gives value to something? Is it what the media says? Is it what other people tell you? Or does it depend on each individual? I think the “value” depends on who you are. We might not always (or ever) think about it that way, but we should. For instance, I see ZERO value in fishing because 1) I cannot stand seafood, 2) it seems like a big waste of time, 3) SAVE THE FISH!! Ok… I’m really not that passionate about anti-fishing, but it was the first example that came to mind To me, I could care less about fishing, but to some people, it’s their entire identity! It defines a good and bad day, it becomes a lifestyle. What if culture put value on fishing, and I became a major low-life wacko because I didn’t like it? That would be absurd! (no comments about me being a low-life wacko please… haha!) But, instead our culture HAS put value on clothing, popularity, etc. and that begins to define people as well, for good or for bad. Who says we should trust what the media says is right? Or that we should trust what “In Style” magazine says is actually in style? Why can’t we have the freedom to think for ourselves and develop opinions for ourselves based on God’s LIVING Word? God gave us brains to think and make to decisions… why should we succumb to the opinions and beliefs being forced on us by negative sources?
I think where I’m going with this whole rant is this: media and music have SUCH power in our culture. Why can’t we use it to impact God’s Kingdom for the greater? As a songwriter, my thoughts often return to music and lyrics… crafting the perfect song. As I have been writing for this next record, I constantly feel a twinge in my heart to be brutally honest with my music. I think that’s what our world needs to hear. The younger generations have a knack for seeing right through ingenuousness and manufactured “kindness”. I feel an undeniable calling to create honest music that touches people exactly where they are. I feel led to challenge people to live greater lives full of generosity, humility, kindness, and love. God has called us to meet people where they are, not to require them to become something great first. Jesus sought out the weakest and the outcast. Why shouldn’t we?
Money, status, clothing, cars, fancy restaurants… they don’t matter. I challenge you to lay these things aside and surrender them to Jesus. Take some time today to really consider what YOU value. Once you’ve decided on a few things that really mean a lot to you, think about how you can use those things to further God’s Kingdom in an honest, genuine way. How can you impact the people in your everyday life by being Jesus to them? Forget about the things that might seem like barriers. Ephesians 3:20-21 says “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”