Monday, February 23, 2009

Ethical consumerism - Stewardship, not always what it seems

~Stewardship - When faced with a purchase I ask myself, can I actually afford this? (Which is far different from “do I have the money for…”) I ask myself “Can I do without this, or figure out how to get this in a better way?” I ask, “What could I do with this money that would serve a greater purpose than this item would?” I ask, “If I don’t purchase this, what will I do with this money?”~

In my last post I addressed most of the first 2 questions. “…Can I actually afford this?“ and “Can I do without this, or figure out how to get this in a better way?”

Now I want to spend some time on the second two questions. “What could I do with this money that would serve a greater purpose than this item would?” I ask, “If I don’t purchase this, what will I do with this money?” I know they seem like kind of the same question. And Maybe you would only need to ask yourself the first question. I, however, need the second question in order to keep myself honest where the previous question is concerned. Here’s my example; If I’m in Target (I thoroughly enjoy that store) and I resist buying a pair of black flip flops for $10.00 because I have a brown pair of flip flops, and I have black flats, I reason with myself and say “even though having a black pair and a brown pair of flip flops would be easier, I could certainly be creative enough to find outfits that would work just as well with either brown flip flops, or black flats.” Then I think to myself “Yes, this is good, $10.00 would pay half of my monthly phone bill. Or I could just stick it in our jar of change that we save for the 30 hour famine (a fund raiser through world vision.) $10.00 would feed 10 kids for a day. I certainly don’t need black flip flops.” Here’s where the second question comes into play. On my way home I realize it’s 1:30 and I haven’t eaten lunch yet. I pull into Tim Horton’s and buy a large mint chocolate ice capp, a chicken salad sandwich on a whole wheat bun, and a honey dipped doughnut. It comes to about $10.00. Blast! Instead of buying black flips flops to make my wardrobe a little easier, instead of paying half of my cell phone bill, instead of feeding 10 children for a whole day, I had lunch 20 minutes earlier than I would have if I waited ‘til I got home and made myself lunch. Should have just gone with the flip flops, at least they would have lasted more than 10 minutes.

Do you know what I mean?

Here’s the thing though - I’m not anti-dining out, in fact, just the other night we went to Pizza Hut and had dinner there. But there was thought behind it, thought put into it. Mark had th day off, we had errands to run, youth group at 7:00, and we had to drop Gideon off at my in-laws before youth group. It was nearing dinnertime when we realized it would be crazy hectic to try to run home, make something for dinner, then get all 4 of us back out the door in time for youth group. So instead, we went to Pizza Hut, had a nice time eating together as a family, I was able to nurse Silas while we waited for our food to come, and everything was calm, relaxed and we had some quality time together. Our alternative option would have been much more stressful and Silas would have cried his head off ’til I could sit to nurse him during dinner, making us late for youth group. So, thank you Jesus and thank you Pizza Hut for an alternative to that!

Dining out isn’t JUST what I’m talking about. I’m trying (and maybe not doing very well) to get a point across.

I suppose this is really what I mean to say; A steward is a property manager: somebody who manages somebody else's property, finances, or household
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

If you believe that God has given you your property, finances and household, it is prudent (and far beyond beneficial for everyone) if you give them back to Him. So, if these things are His - consult Him as to what to do with them. I don’t think that the average Bible believing, Jesus loving person is surprised when God leads us to use our money doing something “churchy” like giving to a charity or buying a bag of groceries for a less than well off family. But I personally begin to second guess myself when I start to feel that God wants me to spend money on something less “churchy” like… a pedicure. Yet, several months ago, I did feel that way, and I believe it was God’s leading. My closest girl friend and I have drifted apart a bit, over the last few years (funny how husbands, kids and real jobs will do that, huh?) I honestly believed that God was having me treat my friend, and myself, to a pedicure for her Birthday. And we had a lovely couple of hours together, catching up, and feeling a little closer than we had been. I believe that God was smiling like a father on that sunny autumn afternoon, as he watched 2 woman become 2 little girls again, chatting, giggling relaxing and catching up like they used to. His daughters making time for each other. Doesn’t that seem like something that would make a Daddy happy?

I feel like this kind of thought process can apply to most, if not all money spending situations; What will help build a stage for God to do what he wants?

God, I believe, has created us to be relational. Eating at Pizza Hut, in my opinion was ministry to our family, we didn’t do it out of laziness or neglect, we did it because eating-out was the best dinner situation for us at that point. God wants us to have healthy relationships. Thriving, growing, loving, blessing relationships. If that means God is leading you to treat a friend (and maybe yourself) to a pedicure, at a locally owned, earth friendly salon, then so be it. Because that’s relational ministry, not frivolousness.

P.S. God is so faithful! When you do with God’s money what he wants you to do, he always provides. : ) Always, always, always. Isn’t that incredible?

1 comment:

Tash said...

So true!
Definately challenges me to look at how I spend/waste money...
Thanks =)