The Srimad Bhagavatham (canto 1, ch. 8, text 37) states: “The perfection of life is, therefore, to become dependent on the will of the Lord, instead of becoming falsely independent in the material world”
Does this mean we have to write off the material world and purely rely on God for our daily needs? I don’t believe so. God placed us on the earth so that we can gain wisdom through the activities of taking care of ourselves and interaction with other people.
Is it then wrong to use the tools and gifts we have so that we can be independent and take care of ourselves in every conceivable way? Would that not prove that we use God’s gifts to the best extent possible?
Yes and no.
We are custodians of whatever material gifts we have. We take care of those gifts from God, but we never own them fully. We do not take any of those material items with us to the grave. The custodianship moves on to those who inherit the material items.
How can we be “falsely independent in the material world”? When you believe that true independence is reliant on a car and house and whatever else is registered in your name or owned by you, ask yourself what will happen if you lose all those items overnight.
On the other hand, if you always remember that you have the use of those gifts by God’s grace, and that you can lose everything if you are arrogant enough to believe you own your treasures, you will do well.
How does this relate to your daily life?
Start the day by giving thanks for what you have – not just the material things, but also the opportunity that comes with a new day. Also remember to ask God for clarity on how you need to use those gifts every day, and for God to show you how you can apply your material independence to His glory rather than yours.
You will be surprised at how you will be blessed when you have this attitude. At the same time, you will need to remind yourself all the time that you are not materially independent at all costs, but that you are materially independent because you chose dependence on God for guidance, and also gratitude for your gifts and for the guidance you receive.