A few weeks ago we did a brief sermon series on the book of Amos. The impact these two messages had on me however has not been brief. The two main thoughts that we engaged with were that of idolatry and injustice. The research I did before the sermon on injustice, lead me to the idea that any idols that we have will inevitably lead to injustice. In reflecting why this might be, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is because in our pursuit of things other than God, we lose focus on what matters and seek things that don’t. We start to see what we desire, rather than any people we might hurt in acquiring what we want, and so, injustice often ensues.
One of the main take-aways from the book of Amos is that God does not like injustice at all. In my sermon, I told a story when Cindy and I were in Melbourne and we saw the price of designer shoes which were $900, we also saw many people in great need. As we observed these two things, it showed to me a great divide between the “needs” and “wants” of people within our society. At times, in our society, by our neglect of those in need, it feels like “we are treading on the heads of the poor” (Amos 2:7). After the service when I had delivered that sermon, someone came to me and began to talk about how we might care for the poor, even as we purchase things. I was told about Baptist World Aid and the information they provide digitally, so that when we go shopping we can know whether a product is made, sourced and provided with ethical and biblical justice at its heart. This information informs us as to whether our purchases of shoes or clothes or electronics are contributing to injustice or a positive development of our world. (baptistworldaid.org.au/faith-in-action/behind-the-barcode)
This can be a scary and inconvenient list, especially when something you like gets a terrible ranking. Because then you will know that the company who makes your products is unjustly exploiting people to give you the cheap (or expensive) shoes. It’s interesting that God does not really care if this information is inconvenient or scary. He cares if it is right, and purchasing products that have injustice built in, means we are indirectly supporting that injustice. What the Baptist World Aid information does, is quickly give us the information so can with confidence buy ethically, and it can also help us to be willing to pay that little extra, if needed, to have justly sourced items.
God bless – Trev
Trev Bell is Associate Minister at Holy Trinity Bendigo