We all have preferences. Things we like and things we don't like. Things we want and things we don't want. If I said I prefer health to sickness and plenty to poverty, you'd probably think my preferences were sensible. But is there a time when they wouldn't be?
What if my preference to plenty over poverty is because I find my sense of worth from money? I feel like I'm a someone, a winner because of my wealth. Also, what if I told you I'm afraid of lack? Is my preference still sensible? Or is it foolish because my attachment to wealth and aversion to lack have taken away my freedom? I'm no longer free for example, to enter a career or vocation with a low income, even if it is where God is calling me.
Let me give you an example from my life. I used to work as a scientist, and as with all companies, there came a time when they wanted to make more profit for the shareholders. And as is usual, the easiest way to make a profit is to reduce expenditure by reducing the number of staff. My company made my whole department redundant.
While I was in between jobs, I prayed about what God may want me to do next. After many weeks of prayer, I felt God was calling me into full-time ministry. A few months later, the Pastor of the church I attended, asked me if I would take on the role of Assistant Pastor. But there was a snag. The job came with no salary.
If I took this job how would I pay my bills? My wife was working, but the income from her job was not enough to meet our outgoings. There wasn't just two of us in our home; we also had two teenagers. So if I took this job, it wasn't just me that would be in lack; but also my wife and children.
After further prayer, I felt God was inviting me to become the Assistant Pastor of that Church. There was no reassurance that everything would be fine. No voice from heaven said God won't let you suffer or be in want. The only thing I could discern was that this was his will. So I took the job.
I tell you this story to illustrate having the freedom to say yes to God. Was I worried about how we would eat and pay the bills? Yes. I wouldn't be human if I weren't. Just like most people, I prefer comfort to lack, but I was free to Choose it. I had enough freedom to say yes to God.
Aversions and attachments are part of being human and will always be a part of our lives. We will still prefer health to sickness, plenty over lack. We are not trying to be free of aversions and attachments, but free from them. If I feel called by God to work in a disease-ridden part of the world where I am likely to become sick, I want to be free to say yes to God.