I have been extreme couponing for years and incredibly frugal for even longer. When it comes to financial stewardship, we’ve got it covered. Lately, I’ve been thinking that financial stewardship isn’t all that God cares about when it comes to making purchases and taking care of our home.
In fact, I think there is something that God cares about even MORE than our financial stewardship... Human stewardship.
Every time we make a purchase, even if the item is free (when I am using coupons) we set into motion a series of events that causes human lives to be destroyed. Yes, you read that correctly. Human lives, children’s lives, destroyed because of what we purchased at the mall.
Was it really such a great sale? Was it really that awesome when I got a new pair of jeans for $5? How many children did it take to manufacture that pair of jeans?
I have been battling with these thoughts for quite a while but I couldn’t find a solution. Most items, especially clothing, food and technology are manufactured by slaves. How do we change what is essential to our living? It’s not like I can quit eating, wearing clothes or using technology, quite frankly, I don’t even want to change any of those things. So then what?
This weekend, I hit a desperate state. Every pair of Truth’s jeans had holes in both knees and Zoe was close behind with only one pair of jeans left. The war was raging, between my ears. Where do I buy slave free clothes? They don’t even sell slave free clothes*!!!
I should have figured it out sooner, but I hate (HATE) the smell of thrift stores. I used to be able to tolerate the stench but when I learned to coupon, I could beat the price of almost every thrift store and it quickly became pointless.
The thrift stores in Portland are awful or maybe I’m just
cheap a good steward, but the prices are outrageous. I quit attempting to shop at any of the stores after we moved here, five years ago. It was pointless. Why would I spend $5 on a pair of jeans at the thrift store when I can go to the mall and get a pair of NEW jeans for $5? It was a no-brainer. But then everything changed.
I grabbed Truth’s and Zoe’s hands, held my breath and walked into the thrift store. Did I mention that I HATE the smell of thrift stores? Why do they smell like that? How do they all smell the same?
Anyway, we come out 30 minutes later with four pair of jeans for $22. It wasn’t a great deal. I didn’t feel like I saved a bunch of money, actually I spent an extra $2 for used jeans. The difference was how I felt. I was being a good steward of people. Spending an additional $2 on four pair of jeans, translates into children on the other side of the globe NOT having to manufacture four more pair of jeans.
I have never seen the sweat shops in India or China, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I have never talked with a child that is forced to work 12+ hours a day to make the shoes I’m wearing, but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. I have been a slave, I do know what it feels like to not have a choice. I do know what it’s like to be forgotten by society. I can NOT continue to live as if the individuals in the other side of the globe don’t exist.
Human stewardship is caring for the individuals that God created in His image, designed by Him for a purpose. I believe we can have the best of both worlds, we can have both financial and human stewardship. I will never be frivolous. I just can’t waste money, but stewardship is more than my finances. It’s about being educated and thoughtful with ALL of our resources, understand that my choices effect others all over the planet. I must create change and this change starts with me.
To New Beginnings,
*Fair Trade clothing is a much better option, however it is difficult to find an entire wardrobe. It’s also important to research the labeling of “fair trade”. Many times the label is used but it only applies to the “cut and sew” portion of manufacturing, not the production of the fabric.