Posted by: Philip Rushton | May 12, 2014

Shopping With The Minor Prophets

“They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed.” Amos 2:6-8

One of the major themes we have encountered in our series on the minor prophets is God’s concern with economic exploitation. Almost all of the prophets speak out against the oppression of the poor. They confront the religious insiders who worship God in the temple yet proceed to exploit the needy for their own economic gain.

In Micah 2:6, we discover that there is a temptation to turn a blind eye to injustice. The people literally tell the prophets to stop talking about economic exploitation. They want to avoid dealing with the reality of this issue because it is a disgraceful and inconvenient.

As we have been reflecting on the words of the prophets I have been convicted about how easy it is for us to turn a blind eye economic exploitation. In our globalized economy we are extremely detached from the products we consume. As such, we often contribute to economic injustice without even knowing it. We don’t see the working conditions of the people who make our clothes, we aren’t aware if the chocolate we consume involved labor from enslaved children, and we don’t hear about the coffee farmer’s inability to support his family because he isn’t paid a fair wage for his product. It could very well be the case that after listening to John’s sermon on the prophet Amos last week, I proceeded to drink coffee that had contributed to the very thing Amos condemns.

free2workPerhaps one of the ways we need to apply the prophets condemnation about economic exploitation is to expand our awareness of where our products come from. Perhaps this means we should spend the extra money to purchase fair trade coffee, research the working conditions of the people who produce our favorite clothing brands, or buy more local products.

It is a bit daunting to know where to start. It might be helpful for us to start small by exploring one type of product at a time. Perhaps we might spend the summer researching fair trade coffee, the fall on fruit and vegetables, and the winter on clothing. Over time we can start changing our purchasing habits to reflect the values of God’s kingdom.

There are some great resources online that help us learn more about the companies we purchase from. The following websites provide information and accountability for numerous products we purchase.

http://www.free2work.org/

http://www.fairlabor.org/

http://www.fairtradeusa.org/

The minor prophets call us to repentance. Amos declares, “Let just roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Micah urges us to “do justice.” What might it look like if we listened to these voice while browsing amazon.com or strolling through triangle shopping center?

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