Summary: How do you handle what God has given you? Is it okay to buy from companies that use sweatshops or mistreat their employees? What role do Christians have in that area?
If you have your bible, you can open them to the book of Isaiah chapter 58, verse 6, which is on p. 522 if you grabbed a bible in the lobby. Isaiah is what is called a prophet. Prophets were not popular people, most of them met untimely deaths, but prophets were the people that God used to speak to his people and bring them back to him. This is what God said through Isaiah in chapter 58, verse 6: 6Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Like today, poverty, rich and poor, upper and lower class were things that were realities of life. As today in most situations, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. What Isaiah is describing is a way to find freedom. When he uses the word fast, that is a way to discovering freedom. He is bringing up a question that everyone struggles with, how do I experience freedom? All of us feel bondage in different areas of life, for many of us it is in the area of money.
Flip over to Amos chapter 5, verse 11 which is on p. 651. Amos is another prophet that God is speaking through. Most of the book of Amos deals with the reality of the rich and the poor, the classes of people within society. This is what it says in verse 11: 11Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.
Amos is speaking to people who are taking advantage of the poor. Using them for their own gain. Amos says, that even though you have built these great houses, you have planted beautiful vineyards; you will not get to reap the reward. You will not experience all that you hoped you would experience. Amos is saying what is very common among prophets in the Bible, the lives of the rich and poor will be switched after death.
Flip over to Matthew chapter 25, verse 31. It is one p. 708. Here we pick up Jesus speaking to religious people of his day, mostly upper class, religious people. Jesus is speaking to Jews, and in the first century almost every Jew had the whole Old Testament memorized. So Jesus is teaching and then he starts talking about the end of the world. Verse 31: 31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
34Then the King will say to those on his right, ’Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ’Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ’Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
41"Then he will say to those on his left, ’Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, saying, ’Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45Then he will answer them, saying, ’Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."