Christians are among the most likely to offer their money to the less fortunate, with 79% donating to charities. However, followers of Christ need to think more holistically about the way their actions could be impacting the world. Why not start with fashion? The textile industry contributes 300,000 tons of CO2 each year, while keeping employees in unsafe conditions for an unfair wage. Despite this, Americans spend an average of $1700 a year on clothing, while Brits spend £1222. The global fashion market is worth $2 trillion a year, when footwear and jewellery is counted. Remedy this by turning to your bible. It will remind you of the value of shunning materialism, especially insofar as it contributes to evil in this world.
“Whoever is kind to the needy honors God”(Proverbs 14:31)
The Bible is very clear in its endorsement of serving those in need. Giving money to charity is one way to do this, but shopping for your clothes at charity shops kills several birds with one stone. Firstly, your money is going directly to help the poor, rather than lining the pockets of wealthy CEOs of fashion companies. Secondly, you are lowering the demand for new clothing items, so less has to be produced, and less harm is done to the environment and sweatshop workers. Also remember to donate your unused items. And when you do buy new, look for clothing brands with ethical credentials.
Worship Through Non-Consumerism
It is important to buy less and to buy more consciously. In our consumerist society, many people are making purchases without thinking of the consequences. By paying attention when you shop and doing so within a moral framework, you are actually engaging in an act of worship.
John 2:16 describes “pride in possessions” as coming from the world, rather than from God. By scaling back your interest in fashion, you are showing that you are grateful for the gift of life and for your loving friends and family. When you show gratitude for what the Father has given you, you are serving Him and living as a good Christian.
The Bible’s Message On Sustainability
Matthew 6:26 has one of the most beautiful and profound messages from our Lord on the importance of caring for the environment: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” The lesson here is to do as little damage as possible to the land that was created for humans and all animals. “You shall not pollute the land in which you live,” reads Numbers 35:33-34, yet this is exactly what the fashion industry is doing.
Living sustainably, charitably, and humbly is the virtuous route for a Christian. Take a look at your clothes buying habits, consider the impact, and make a conscious change for the better. Using charity shops provides for the poor, while buying less is both an act of gratitude and a way of reducing the harm done to the planet and the humans who live here.