Disclaimer: I’m writing this with the assumption we agree that buying fair-trade and organic/natural foods is better for other people, our environment, and ourselves. If you don’t agree, you are probably wasting your time; and if you don’t know what I’m talking about read up on these websites about the issues.
How many of us buy EVERYTHING fair-trade and organic certified? Are the United States standards for fair-trade or organic even considered “merciful” by God’s standards? How do we become ethically responsible consumers without breaking the bank?
Right now… we don’t.
Buying organic/natural foods or products that are fair-trade certified means spending more money than products that don’t.
However, when you buy organic (and sometimes natural) foods you are committing to being a good steward of the planet. You are committing to soil and water conservation, reducing pollution, and the ethical treatment of animals.
Fair-trade is another mercy issue that needs to be taken up by God’s people. Human trafficking (slavery) is the third largest illegal industry behind drug and weapons trafficking. There are more slaves in the modern world than at any point in world history.
Why coffee, chocolate, and clothing? Because we consume so much of it and their industries are SO saturated in slave labor.
The turn off to buying organic and fair-trade is the extra research, extra time, and extra money!
One of the most common excuses I’ve heard from Christians (including myself) is that if I buy the cheaper item I can use the money I’ve saved to give to other important ministries… bullshit.
The $12 dollars I saved on a shirt, $2 dollars I saved on coffee, and the $0.39 I saved on a chocolate bar never made it into my giving, and probably not yours either.
Yeah, I’m calling you out!
In Micah 6:8 we learn that the Lord requires us to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.” Caring for our planet is a justice issue, fairly compensating workers is a mercy issue, and when we use our bank account to do so we humble ourselves to the will of God out from under the safety net provided by our paychecks.
When confronted with a money issue Jesus once said “Give to Caesar what is Caesars and give to God what is God’s.” Why do we care so much about our money if God’s issues of justice, mercy, and humility are being served?
One time when Jesus was asked to pay the temple tax he had one of his disciples go catch a fish and pulled four drachma out of its mouth! Do you think the God who can pull money out of a fish’s mouth cares about the couple bucks you saved not buying fair-trade coffee or free range chicken compared to the people, earth, and animals treated ethically when you do? The answer is an emphatic, “NO!”
Let’s stop kidding ourselves into thinking it does and put our money where our mouths are… wrapped up with issues of justice, mercy, and humility.
Need a place to start..?
Then try stumbing around the internet yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you can find.