Week 2 of “The 7 Experiment” bible study focused on clothes. Our challenge was to pick 7 clothing items to wear for the next 7 days. I looked at my calendar. There was absolutely nothing going on except for church and a trip to the dog groomer. I decided on the outfit you see in the picture above. My favorite “Mom’s Gonna Snap” T-shirt, jeans, tennis shoes and a sweater/jacket/cardigan thing in case I got chilly. Then I also chose pajama bottoms and a tank top that I could wear to bed and to work out in, with one extra item up for grabs should it get colder or I get asked to go somewhere and need something at the last minute.
Six items. Seven days.
Obviously, given that I was mainly staying home, this week didn’t present a huge challenge for me. Also, I’m not a big time clothes shopper. As a matter of fact, I’ve lost enough weight lately that most of my pants are too big and I have absolutely zero desire to go buy more. A lot of women I know would jump at the chance to go shopping and an excuse like this would be perfect for them. I am not one of these women. At all.
But this is not to say that I didn’t get anything out of this week’s study. Quite the contrary! My eyes were opened to how powerfully my money speaks. Because as much as I dislike shopping, I do love a good bargain. But what is the actual cost? Lots of times, what I perceive as a great deal, cost someone else their very humanity. There is a whole other world out there of forced labor, violence, and child trafficking that allows me to pay less than $10 for a T-shirt. Ashely Judd has said, “I don’t want to wear someone else’s despair.”
But let’s see what God says:
13 The Lord takes his place in court;
he rises to judge the people.
14 The Lord enters into judgment
against the elders and leaders of his people:
“It is you who have ruined my vineyard;
the plunder from the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people
and grinding the faces of the poor?”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
Whoa! The plunder from the poor is in my house. MY HOUSE? All this time I thought I was being a good steward of our money by looking for bargains, but as it turns out, there were times I was unintentionally sending a message that says “keep those 8 year olds working, I want cheap shoes!”
The good news is that we don’t have to resort to buying expensive clothes and completely revamping our household budgets. “But how do we know?”, you may ask. Well, believe it or not, there’s an app for that! Check out Free2 Work and find out how to make your money speak in a way that ends modern day slavery.
There were so many more good aspects to the study this week. How our clothing defines us, the money spent to maintain our style, judging others based on their appearance, and my personal favorite, how we fall prey to marketing strategies. Try this on for size:
“In this new epoch in which the needy are without income and the wealthy are without needs, radical inequality is simply assumed… Inequality leaves capitalism with a dilemma: the overpoducing capitalist market must either grow or expire. If the poor cannot be enriched enough to become consumers, then grown-ups in the First World who are currently responsible for 60 percent of the world’s consumption, and with vast disposable income but few needs, will have to be enticed into shopping.” (“Consumed”, by Benjamin R. Barber)
Don’t ya just hate the moment you realize you’ve been had? Let’s not allow these folks to entice us any longer. We have so many more responsibilities out there than keeping our kids in the latest fashions. Feed the hungry, clothe the poor, mend the brokenhearted. Keep in mind, Jesus didn’t wear the robe of royalty and people flocked to Him anyways. He was light and love, and He spoke truth. He was approachable in every way, and so must we be.