When spending less means spending more

9 Dec

Christmas and spending less are two concepts that don’t mix in our culture. Spending more?  Now that’s the idea!

From the pulpits and the prophets we hear a lot each year about spending less.  But what if spending less means spending more?

Phil Bartelt preached the second Advent Conspiracy theme yesterday: Spend Less.  He mentioned the following video:

While SNL was being very funny, they were also pointing out a grim reality.  When we think about all the great deals on Black Friday that drive people like herders driving cattle into stores, creating a stampede-like chaos, have you ever considered how a store can sell a TV so inexpensively?  We thrive on the idea of paying less.  We’re getting a deal!  But how are we able to get that deal?  Is the store willing to make less money so we don’t have to spend as much?  You know the answer to that is a big fat “No!”.  We call these deals “steals”, but is it possible that we are stealing from someone?

The sad answer is “Yes.”  All too often it is the unseen worker, usually in another country, that is making it possible for us to get our cheap TVs.  Remember the factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1000 workers? 

Apparently there are still problems.  Perhaps a large part of the ongoing problem is that we, the consumers of the clothing, just keep buying them, no matter that the workers are paid a pittance they cannot live on, and their working considers are literally deadly.

James, the brother of Jesus, and leader of the early church in Jerusalem, said that the Lord is very concerned when we don’t pay workers their due.  Read James 5:1-5.  His strong words should give us pause before going to the mall at Christmas.

Lest this start to turn negative, there is hope!  Spend MORE!  That’s right.  More.  More wisely.  More justly.  And, yes, that might mean more money too.  If we know that a dress could be had for $15, we like that price.  But when the $15 dress was made in a falling down factory in Bangladesh with workers paid a wage that keeps them in poverty (sounds like slavery, doesn’t it?), perhaps that $15 isn’t enough?  Instead, we need to find clothes and other products that are actually fairly made, even if it costs us more.  And once we start looking, once we make the commitment to honor the Lord and pay workers fairly, what we find is amazing!  There are companies dedicated to fair trade, direct trade, fair wage employment.  One such company is Imagine Goods, which sells many kinds of clothing and home goods.  You can even meet the people who make their products!  There are other similar companies as well.

This Christmas perhaps you’ll experience the joy of spending less by spending more!

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