Here was my dilemma in the grocery store this morning. I had to buy coffee for myself – I can only drink decaf in order to avoid terrible headaches. I have in my hand some fair trade decaf ground coffee, yet I see that Nescafé instant is less than half price of what I’m holding in my hand. Even though I know the ground coffee is better tasting (when you have to drink decaf this is still important), and I prefer to buy fair trade, I’m tempted to go for the deal. After all it’s only for me.
I look a little insane as I walk away with the fair-trade coffee in my cart and then stop suddenly still in indecision. Is it right to buy what is best for our budget, and save money, or best for the people who make the stuff? The thing is, once you know about injustice you can’t un-know – and I’m aware that fair trade is much better. I’m far from perfect on making the right choices. I confess I cave in and buy non fair trade chocolate in weak moments. It’s a battle.
This morning the thing at issue wasn’t just fair trade or not. I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me with the question of whether I trust God to provide for us enough that I’ll do the right thing. The just thing. I could cheat and save money my own way, or buy something I know is better for others and trust that God knows. I know another option is to drink water and save the money altogether, but bear with me.
Does God care about my decision over what coffee to buy? Well, I know that justice is at the heart of his character, that he hates it when injustice is done, so for me it’s one of those tiny decisions that adds up to a whole way of life. It’s not to earn his approval as that is futile. It’s more that as I get to know the God of justice, his heart rubs off on mine and my behaviour changes as a result of His goodness in my life. That’s my take on it.
I know, also, that he is concerned about teaching us to trust Him. This is big, big, big in our family’s life at the moment.
Back at that frozen moment. I pray – not out loud. ‘Lord, I trust you and I know that you will provide for us so I’m getting the fair trade.’ I really did pray that.
After getting the rest of the groceries I go to the cashier, pay and then walk out of the store checking the receipt as always. The one thing I’m overcharged for is that pack of coffee. I consider whether I should bother going back over a small over-charge, but I do. I go back. The store has a policy that if you’re overcharged for an item they take the hit and you get it free, it has happened to me on a few occasions before. I got it free!
I felt God say, ‘See, I’ve got you.’
Indeed He has.