Making Choices for Christians
Do we make choices in our daily life as a Christian? Obviously so. We choose the time to arise, sometimes based on work, children, or life needs. We choose whether we will spend time with the Lord in Bible study and prayer, or to not spend any time with Him at all. We choose whether to kiss the wife, or husband, goodbye before heading out. That’s all before breakfast.
What then drives our choices? Is it random? Or is it thought out based on a set of standards, or directives from the Lord? I suppose what time of the day we arise is for the most part only directed by our circumstances, many other areas in life have some ethical, or moral directive.
We begin our day with Bible study and prayer because we see a directive from the Lord as well as a value in developing our relationship with Christ. Likewise, we kiss the wife goodbye to demonstrate our love and deepen our affection towards her. Again, that’s all before breakfast.
Which brings me to an interesting topic I have been perusing. That of choosing how, when, and particularly where to spend our resources. Does it really matter how we spend what God has put into out care? I mean, once we have tithed is the rest free game to spend however we desire? Most believers with a relationship with Christ would obviously disagree with that premise.
It does make a difference how we distribute the resources that God has allowed to come through our hands. That said, how much time, effort, and interest do we take in considering these distributions? When considering to whom we would buy our products from, does it really matter? I mean would the Jews have chosen to do business with their brethren or distribute their funds to the Gentiles? I suppose the question might be best answered coupled with availability and price. Good stewardship involves stretching the dollar as well as whom it goes to.
Consider the dilemma the early believers had with eating meats from a vendor that had previously offered them to idols in 1 Corinthians chapter 8. The passage clearly states that the idols represent nothing, they are the image of an invisible, nonexistent god. In other words the meat was offered to nothing so it is not really defiled at all. Yet, the message of this passage is not about the meat at all but rather about our relationship with the brethren.
There are some things that we should avoid purely for the sake of its appearance of evil. Some do not know or understand our purpose in eating, or rather in buying, or using a certain vendor. The scripture goes on to call it a sin against our brother, to consume something because we so selfishly desire it we do not either care nor consider the weaker brethren.
The issue in this article is what things should we avoid? I mean, are there things we should avoid? I think we can clearly see that there were for the early church. Paul said he would not eat meat altogether rather than offend the brethren. Do we think that way today? Does our Christianity look like that or is it too self satisfying to refuse ourselves of a desired product?
There has been for a period of years a controversy over Starbucks Coffee. It has been particularly escalated with the public and well know decision for the company to promote same sex marriage. A quick google search will bring up the several incidents that have made this public. Due to this, many Christians have decided to avoid Starbucks, choosing to not distribute their resources there. Though it is not offered to idols as the context of the passage above, it does hold a common theme. It is publicly know to contribute, fund, and endorse that which is clearly contrary to the word of God. The coffee itself is not necessarily the issue, just as the meat was not, but rather it’s association. We can clearly take it a step further in exacting that the meat offered to idols was an empty religious practice, whereas distributing money to Starbucks is to finance the promotion of the agenda of same sex marriage.
As the debate has come up among Christians I have failed to find many substantiated arguments beyond, “I like it”. Most arguments begin with, we would have to boycott almost all companies because most promote ungodliness. Yet, we find the scriptures called out a specific product because of its outward, publicly know ungodliness. We are not instructed to go out and research ever store, manufacturer or vendor that we patronize. It is the outward, publicly know. The boycott everything argument is almost always a red herring argument. It is an attempt to avoid the known public issue by distraction. Imagine the early believers saying if we avoid eating the meat offered to idols then we would also have to avoid purchasing anything that pagans are selling, which during their day would be almost exclusive.
If there is an alternative which is available why would the believer still choose the questionable? That is the very intriguing questing. By the way, we are not talking about a necessity of life item, but often a premium product. Could the average believer sacrifice this cup of java? Paul said, if it was offensive that he would no longer eat flesh. He not only said he would avoid the meat offered to idols but the whole product altogether rather than to be an offence. Would we, should we, do that with this publicly anti-god promoting company?
The fact that makes this all the more disturbing is the abundant availability of alternatives. We are not talking about a one source company that has the corner on the market. In most places we can find several choices within the same city for our delightful experience of espresso. Is our lust for our favorite flavor or brand so big that we cannot put it aside? Will we argue for our liberty so that we can consume upon our lust at the endangerment and offense of our brethren? Please read through chapter 8 again.
I am not on a crusade to institute a widespread boycott of Starbucks. I never speak of my prohibition of the company unless provoked to partake of it. But I am deeply concerned that the average self proclaimed believer would site lust as the main reason to continue to distribute God’s blessings of wealth to those that publicly proclaim to promote the cause of ungodliness. I don’t blame those without Christ for rejecting His word and His will. But, I think those that would call Jesus their friend, Lord, and Saviour would not be complicit. Choose you this day who will serve you.