I’ve often prided myself on being a bargain-hunter and scrupulous shopper. I get most of my clothes from op-shops, only going to stores like Target and K-mart for items like coats and jeans. And I delight in the offer of hand-me-downs.
And because I have managed to be so frugal in my clothing habits, I convince myself that I can have more clothes. Afterall, many people are paying full price for all their clothing… if I can get it cheaper, shouldn’t I be able to have a higher quantity?
Well, that philosophy has done me fine up until now. I’ve never had anyone question my spending habits, let alone accuse me of… greed. That is, until Phillip Jensen gave his series of talks entitled “The Gospel and the World” at this year’s KYLC. All his talks were remarkable and challenging, in some way, though I think I found the last one (Consumerism) to be the most pertinent to my life.
The reality is, our society (in the West) is saturated by a consumerist mindset. Everything is about buying and selling, and even people are reduced to “customers” or “stakeholders”. Along with this, we are among the most wealthy people in the world. Even the poor here are among the most wealthy in the world.
As a Christian, I can’t pretend that I’m not part of this, or that I didn’t do anything to contribute to the situation. The fact is, I live in this world and I can’t deny the influence it’s had on my life and on my mind.
The other fact that cannot be escaped is God’s remarkable generosity to the world, collectively, and to me, personally. He gave the one thing that meant the most to him: his Son.
How can I turn my face away from that?
I don’t know how good a job I did of describing that talk to you, but by the end (by the start, even) I was heavily convicted that I cannot continue to handle money in the way I have been. I cannot continue to buy excess amounts of clothes with a clear conscience.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit was also working in the heart of my friend, K, and she felt convicted by the talk as well. K said that she had heard of someone not buying any clothes for 6 months. So that’s what we’re doing.
No more clothing until July 20.
Of course, it’s not simply about not buying anymore clothes for 6 months, it’s also about getting out of the habit of trying things on every time you walk into a clothing shop. I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty hard to resist a sales rack. And I know that sounds funny, but it’s true. It’s like there’s a magnetic pull or something.
Please join us in this “challenge” of sorts, and encourage your friends to do it as well. (And leave a comment if you decide to, it will encourage us greatly!)
As an aside, I am certainly not condemning clothes shopping or providing for your needs. I’m just saying that we all need to be a bit more discerning about where our money goes… money that God has graciously blessed us with.