Use your time and money wisely

Andy Bartel

Andy Bartel

As a pastor and friend once shared with me, “There are two books who define who I am, and neither of them is the Bible.”

He was referring to his pocket calendar and his checkbook. “Where I spend my time and my money is a true reflection of who I am.”

I’ll use the same name that Gregg and Evan Spiridellis (of fame) use to protect the guilty: ‘Big Box Mart.’ Here is a company that many of us flock to so we can save money on our everyday needs, from Q-tips to Mountain Dew. But at what cost? Do we give any thought to whether or not ‘Big Box Mart’ pays their employees a fair and decent wage? Does ‘Big Box Mart’ offer affordable health care benefits? Does ‘Big Box Mart’ support local manufacturing, or are they exporting jobs to underpaid, overworked people under deplorable working conditions?

Let’s leave ‘Big Box Mart’ alone and use another example. Where does the coffee I purchase come from? Do the farmers get paid a living wage? Is the reseller a local business who pays good wages, or a multinational behemoth who pays minimum wage and intentionally puts independent coffee shops out of business?

As Christians, I believe these are the tough questions we need to be asking and answering. The student leaders here were recently looking for a new fundraiser that would support their Christian ideals. They have chosen to sell Fair Trade Coffee. Fair Trade is a label that assures a consumer that local farmers get paid enough money for their coffee to cover production costs and allow them to support their families. Many coffee farmers around the world get paid pennies on the dollar, forcing them into a downward spiral of debt and poverty. Fair Trade projects also promote growing coffee organically so that environmentally speaking, the farmers’ trade is more sustainable.

Are your beliefs reflected by where you spend your time and money? Are the pennies you save worth the cost in human pain and suffering? I urge you to prayerfully consider how you spend the time and money that God has blessed you with. In the words of Paul, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Colossians 3:17.