Coffee and loving people

fair-trade-certifiedI care about people. I actually really really love them, all of them. This can, at times, get me into trouble, or at least make life a tad inconvenient. Today I have been doing some research on buying fair trade products for an event I’ll be helping with later next month. When fair trade became a word more commonly known, I thought it was a left wing, hippy conspiracy that was just tricking people to spend more for the products they love. I didn’t understand what the driving was behind fair trade. I wasn’t informed and at the time, social justice was not something evangelicals cared about. Social justice was for those who didn’t care about the gospel and only wanted to do good and make life comfortable in the here and now. My assumption was that those who cared about social justice did not care about eternity and did not care about gospel. Boy, was I wrong!

Several years ago I was part of a team of people who were writing curriculum on a Kingdom response to Social Justice issues. I was given a module focusing on the idea of a Kingdom and our buying practices. At first I thought to myself, “why was I asked to help with this? I don’t know anything about why it matters what we buy?” I began my research and the more I studied, the more I understood why this topic ended up with me. My buying practices matter, because I love people. My buying practices matter, because of the gospel.

Working on this particular writing project was a part of my conversion. I grew belief in a new area. I understood a deeper reality of the gospel. The gospel, the whole gospel cares about whole people. The gospel sets people free, in eternity now and in eternity to come.  The gospel binds up the broken hearted. The gospel makes beauty from ashes. The gospel does not wish one well and walk away.  The gospel saves. The gospel loves. Buying fair trade matters because of the gospel. Caring about the fair treatment of people matters because of the gospel. Choosing to steward my money, matters, beyond frugality, because of the gospel.

So, today, as I was researching chocolate, coffee, tea and wine I was finding myself growing impatient with the process and wondered if I could justify spending more for products that I could easily buy for much less. Then, I was reminded of the gospel. I was reminded that as one who stewards that which I’ve been given, by a King who loves people, I can not only justify the extra, but it is just for me to do so.

Sometimes, loving people is costly in unexpected ways.

How have you experienced love at the cost of someone else?

Check out Trade As One and Westrock Coffee for great finds on fair trade products.


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