Dr. James Howell with some wise words on shopping:
Shopping: what lures me, and why? Is God honored by what I purchase? How much of my mental energy is drawn into wanting things? that hard to find zinfandel? or just the right window treatments? How does the time I spend looking, trying on, purchasing, returning and replacing what I have compare to the time I spend thinking about God, praying, reading the Bible, serving?
Think about J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbits: on their birthdays, instead of receiving gifts, they give gifts. When I shop, do I buy for others? If so, whom? Sometimes I buy a new coat for me, and give my old coat to the needy – which is an excellent thought. I have a friend who committed to a different discipline: when he buys a new coat for his son, his simultaneously buys a new coat for a child who can’t afford even an old coat. I know several families whose Christmas shopping tab is always matched by a special donation to the poor. Do I leave my faith at home, or take it with me, when I shop?
(HT: Ben Witherington)