“Honour the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your crops;” Proverbs 3:9.
We all know the score. Everyday we are bombarded with messages telling us what to do: Buy this. Eat that. Drink those. Wear them. It’s hard. I know it’s hard.
But what does it matter?
As Christians we are called to go against the grain. To stand out. It’s easy(ish) to follow a list of don’ts – but doing more isn’t as obvious. Especially when it’s mundane, like doing your shopping. But what does Christ-like shopping look like? And why does it matter?
How we buy doesn’t just affect us. We have to consider the entire lifecycle of that product to get it onto that shelf; who grew the material for your jeans? Who sewed them afterwards? Who made the buttons and the zips? Who put them in boxes? Who shipped them? And were they treated fairly, with the respect they deserve?
As Christians we are also called to love every single person who has laid a hand on that product – and everyone else beyond them. But if we are buying goods that are indirectly unfairly treating them, are we really doing that?
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40.
We are all aware of the dirty side of business in today’s society, but it’s so easy to sweep it under the carpet. We don’t directly see it, but it is happening. How we spend our money massively determines how business operates. If we all support schemes that are working against oppression of worker’s rights, and demanding that they have a fair wage, we are making a difference.
I’m not writing this as someone who always buys super ethically. I’m as guilty as everyone else. I don’t buy only Fair Trade, cruelty-free, organic, locally sourced, ethically sourced, (etc) products. It’s hard, especially as a student. It’s so easy to always look for the cheapest thing on the shelf, and it’s not always entirely obvious what ethical shopping looks like.
Let us try and help.
What this series of blogs is trying to do is to give practical advice as to how we can best be spending our money on campus and around Glasgow. Spending 10p more on Fair Trade bananas really does make a huge difference. If we stand up for the people the world pushes down, we can advance God’s kingdom – and make an impact locally. If Christians are known for standing up for someone they will likely never meet in their lifetime, our impact goes far beyond a factory in the depths of Asia.
We want to see God move in Glasgow. And it can all start from something as simple as changing our buying habits.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
- Pray for those who are being adversely affected by unethical business.
- Look at what you are buying, and think about those who have touched it before it got into your hands.
Words: Jonny Willis