I was sitting in my hotel room in beautiful Victoria, BC, in the middle of our journey that’s cost over $10,000. As we contemplated what to do with our day, where to go, what to buy, I turned on the oh-so-convenient television to be faced with something much too familiar as an image we rarely think anything of flashed across the screen. It was the image of a young mother with her near-naked baby crying in her arms and her little boy standing beside her gripping a few fingers on her frail hand as they stand in their community – a garbage dump in Nicaragua –asking themselves what they would eat for the next meal, and where they would sleep for the night.

How disgusting did I feel? I was sitting in what would be a five-star hotel to them, beside friends in clean clothes watching sport highlights on their wireless laptop. All the while we were debating whether we should buy the touristy five dollar candy apples first, or travel through the thrift store to see if we could find any nice cheap clothing to add to our already stuffed bags. We definitely didn’t need any more clothes and we would essentially be robbing those who can really only afford the thrift store clothes. We would be stealing from the people we are all called to love and give the shirt off our back to... or is that only on Sunday that we are suppose to do that?

I don’t know where I’m suppose to draw the line, or where God has drawn the line for me. When does it become wrong to buy that nice expensive top for your mother on her birthday? Or spend more money on that pair of shoes because you’re told they’ll last longer than the five pairs you have back home? Or buy that new jacket because it will match your new pants better than your one-month old, now out of style jacket? Surely God doesn’t frown upon everything we buy to please ourselves or to put a smile on someone else’s face, but I’m sure He’s shaken His head quite a few times at all the stupid, worthless things we find such value and pleasure in but never actually need, especially while there are children dying on the street corners.

So what am I to do? Leave this program? Well I don’t think that is really going to solve anything. For me, right now, I don’t need to buy anything in order to really experience this adventure. Almost everything has been paid for so I shouldn’t need to pull out my wallet unless I have found a meaningful and reasonably priced souvenir.
We do a lot of sitting and eating. And when we sit for such long periods of time we get bored, so what better thing is there to do than eat? It becomes an activity, something to pass the time, and it’s neither healthy nor a wise use of money. For this reason, I will only eat the provided meals, drink lots of water, eat more on special occasions, and when I’m bored...I’ll actually do something! And something physically active if possible.

But as Ephesians 4:28 says, don’t just stop stealing but “begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need.” To just stop stealing from the people we are called to love is okay, but doesn’t do much good unless I begin to replace it with something that benefits them; something that counteracts my selfish desires. And this is where I leave you. What value do you place in monetary things? Do you feel you have to buy something whenever you go to the mall? Do you turn your head at the price of something that you just really like, even if you have 3 perfectly good ones already at home? Do you super size when you should probably just get the salad?

If you trust that your money belongs to God, will you listen to or ignore that little voice in your head telling you that He doesn’t think you need to spend your money on certain things. You have a choice to make every day, the choice is yours; candy apples or thrift store clothing... or there’s always a door number three to look behind.

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