By Brandon Harvath
Every year as my family gets ready for Christmas, I look forward to participating in “Small Business Saturday,” appreciating the opportunity to purchase gifts from local retailers while supporting healthy employment and prosperity in my community.
Just as we want to support independent businesses near us geographically, we should also want to support businesses who are closely aligned with our values. When we shop at many big-box retailers or do business with multi-national corporations, we don’t get a vote on how they choose to use their profits. Many of these businesses end up contributing our money to causes that run counter to biblical teachings. Some of them even go so far as to stock items that promote ungodly lifestyles. Who can forget Target’s promotion of sexualized “tuck-friendly” children’s swimwear or Netflix’s glamorization of suicide in “13 Reasons Why”?
Beyond retail, our financial choices – banking, investing and insurance – also play a role in either supporting or undermining our values. According to the latest research from Family Research Council and Charlotte Lozier Institute, 100% of Obamacare plans in several states, including California and New York, cover elective abortion. But did you know many employer-sponsored plans are the same? You might participate in your local March for Life but also inadvertently be helping pay for elective abortions.
As Christians, we should not be afraid to ask questions and do additional homework to ensure we are not unintentionally promoting procedures, policies and projects that don’t align with our biblical values. In fact, it’s our responsibility.
How might this look on a practical level? Rather than providing profits for a Wall Street bank which may use our funds to undermine biblical values, we can choose to bank through a Christian credit union. As president of Christian Care Ministry, the nonprofit association of churches that manages Medi-Share, I know firsthand how hundreds of thousands of Christians utilize health care sharing ministries as a values-aligned alternative to the big insurance companies. And last fall, when my sons needed new basketball shoes, I chose to bypass the swoosh and purchase the new “Judah 1” sneaker from Unitus, a values-based alternative to sports and lifestyle apparel. (Watch my unboxing video.)
Rather than be angry boycotters and make a big deal about how we never shop “there,” instead let’s focus on the positive and seek out businesses whose owners we know share our Christian values. We need to be known more for what we stand for than what we stand against. The Bible tells us “whatsoever things are lovely, think on these things.” We are instructed to be a sweet aroma, so that we might attract others to our way of life instead of repelling them with our judgmental attitudes.
If we proclaim biblical values, our spending practices should align with our words, serving as a practical testament to our commitment. Each dollar becomes not just a vote but also a witness to our values, leaving an indelible mark on the businesses and communities we engage with.
In uniting with like-minded individuals, as the early church did in the book of Acts, we can collectively influence the choices of businesses we support. Conducting in-depth research through resources like local “Shepherd’s Guides” allows us to identify businesses that align with our values without unfairly maligning those whose principles we may not know.
Supporting life-affirming organizations and Christian businesses multiplies the impact of our spending, allowing them to thrive and continue their positive contributions to ministries, local churches and communities. Every dollar in our possession is a temporary resource entrusted to us. Our role as stewards demands that we carefully consider how we use it. By actively seeking out businesses whose owners share our Christian values and being intentional about our spending, we can make a meaningful difference and affirm our commitment to our biblical worldview. There’s power in purposeful spending.
Brandon Harvath serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Christian Care Ministry (CCM), the nonprofit 501(c)(3) association of churches that manages Medi-Share. CCM believes that we should reclaim the biblical mandate to care and provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ. A homeschooling father of seven, Harvath is passionate about family, and the freedom to choose educational and health care options that align with faith and values.
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