Last week I was horrified as I read about the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh. As I read of the tragedy and saw the horror in pictures my heart broke for those who’d lost their lives, for the family left behind and I tried to make sense of it all. Why do these conditions exist in our world today? Why can’t companies make a little less money so that people can be safe at work?
That night as I helped my son into bed I found myself picking up the clothes he had strewn about the room as he had changed into his PJs. I looked with a heavy heart at the tag in his jeans knowing what I was going to see before I saw it. My son’s jeans were made in Bangladesh for a company which contracted out with this collapsed factory. Someone’s hands had pieced these little pants together. What happened to that person? Where they ok?
I’m writing today on an iMac that was made in China. I am wearing clothes from all over the world. The food I eat is driven on a truck to my local store. There are people behind all of these things. People who create and grow, whose livelihood is giving me things that make my life comfortable. Do I ever think about them or do I just consume goods?
There is always going to be a point at which I will have to buy things. I need to purchase food. I need to clothe my growing son. I am going to have to replace things that break and provide for my family. Being a consumer is tricky business these days and I have been trying to be a better consumer. I try to purchase as much as I can locally. I buy organic food where I am able as I want good health for both the farmers and my family. I try to purchase ethical chocolate and recycled paper but as you can see most of my efforts have been regarding food. I need to focus on other things and see if there are better choices I could be making.
It would seem to me that if I am to take this Christ Follower business seriously I really need to be thinking of people, all people. When we look at Jesus’ parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son we see how serious God is about leaving no one behind. We need to stop leaving people behind. We need to notice and see them as people, not for what they produce for us.
I’m not exactly sure how to effect change but I know I need to think more on this. I have a voice. I have been blessed in this life. I have a responsibility to ensure that people are not left behind. This kind of thing should never happen and we need to ensure that it doesn’t again.