I shop at Goodwill. The lady who hems things up for me expressed concern about those who take from the poor by shopping at thrift stores. She believes it's wrong to shop there if you're not poor and in dire financial straits. I believe that Goodwill helps me be a better steward of my resources whether I'm underemployed or not. I chuckle at other shoppers who saunter into the store in fur coats or driving Hummers. I see this as an opportunity to engage in a deeper discussion about Worldviews and ultimately point to my Saviour if handled correctly. What are your thoughts on this?
Thanks for the question. In all honesty, it sounds like your seamstress has some grave misunderstandings about thrift stores. How unfortunate! If I understand their business model correctly, they accept donated clothes and furniture from individuals/companies and then sell the items for profit. The donors receive a tax deductible receipt that can be used to lower their individual or corporate taxes. The proceeds that come from these items are then used to support local homeless shelters and other charitable endeavors.
Everyone has a right to shop where they want. Goodwill is not limited to, or intended for, the poor; if the poor were the only ones who shopped there, Goodwill would not have the financial resources to remain open. The company needs to convert donated items into cash to fund the many generous efforts they support.
As a Christian, we are called to be good stewards of our money. If we can save money by shopping at Goodwill, then by all means, do it. However, we should always make sure that our purchases are meaningful and necessary, not frivolous and materialistic.
I like your idea of using this opportunity to discuss worldviews! It sounds like a good chance to practice using one or more of the "Four Killer Questions" that spur critical thinking skills (see www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4227009/k.7235/Four_Killer_Questions.htm).
I hope this helps. Bless you!
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About the Author
Nathan Townsie served as a research intern at Probe Ministries in 2011. He holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Math from St. Mary’s University and worked for seven years as a full-time schoolteacher and curriculum planner before earning his M.A. in Media Arts (Writing) from Dallas Theological Seminary. Nathan’s interests focus on apologetics and cultural engagement.
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Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
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