Learn How to Shop with Purpose

Has anyone ever told you that shopping is a spiritual gift? Maybe they said shopping is your spiritual gift.

it's about more than what you buy learn how to shop with purpose and impact your community via Amy E Patton @ Life Rewritten

Even though shopping is not one of the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible, it is a tool we can use to build the Kingdom of God.

I learned this principle in Thailand.

Most of our ministry work took place after 8:00PM; so our days were free. Our team leader suggested we use that time to develop relationships by becoming repeat customers in shops and restaurants. I was skeptical, but I decided to give it a try.

Over the next few days, I purchased jewelry from women who no longer work in the sex trade industry. I bought souvenirs from vendors I knew by name. I learned how to say good morning in Thai from the barista who served me iced coffee and pastries.

I became a connoisseur of Indian food because the restaurant owner told me about her dishes and how to eat them. I laughed until I cried with the Thai masseur who left bruises on my arm during my foot massage. (This is what happens when you mix a Thai massage with a fair-skinned American girl).

shop for a purpose in Thailand via Amy E Patton @ Life Rewritten

My purchases became about more than money exchanging hands. They became about people I loved. The products and services I bought hold more value because of the memories they represent and the prayers they inspire.

I discovered that one of the best ways we can impact people with the love of Christ is through shopping. Not because we are supporting someone’s livelihood but because we are building relationships that allow us to express Christ’s love through our actions, attitudes and words.

Making an impact through shopping isn’t limited to short-term mission trips. It isn’t even limited to buying products from companies that support a cause. Shopping can have the same impact in our communities. We just have to shop with purpose.

After coming home, I decided to practice what I learned. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go shopping everyday. (My husband didn’t buy the whole “I need to shop every day because it’s my spiritual gift” line.) However, I could shop at the same stores, at the same time, with the same employees. My impact became deep instead of wide.

How I learned to shop with purpose:

I started by evaluating where I spend the most money and time: Meijer

Next, I determined when I shop: Wednesdays mid-afternoon

Then I picked my favorite cashier: Ginny*

I decided to check out in Ginny’s lane every time I shop- even if there is a line. While I wait, I talk. I talk about the weather, about food, about working at Meijer.

Over the past few years, Ginny and I have gotten to know each other. She knows my name. I know a few things about her.

I haven’t mentioned Jesus’ name a single time, but I have mentioned her name to Jesus several hundred times.

grocery shopping via shutterstock

Taking the time to build relationships where you shop may not feel important, but it is.

I am building a relationship with Ginny that says I see you. It says you matter to me.

Because of this, I trust that when the things of God come up, Ginny will receive what I say with an open heart. Because of our relationship, she will know she isn’t a notch in my Christian belt. She is a person I care about.

Learning to shop with purpose is one of the most important things we can do to share Christ’s love in our communities, but we must decide to do it. Our busy lives will miss these opportunities if we aren’t intentional.

Where do you shop most often? When do you shop? Which business owner, clerk, or service provider can you build a relationship with? Share your answers in the comments, then get out there and go shopping.

With Love, Amy E Patton

*name changed to honor our relationship

Pulling Back the Shades: Learning how to Talk about Fifty Shades of Grey with your Friends

Isaiah 1:18, Cleansing Fire via Amy E Patton

There is a shady topic that keeps coming up in conversations, and I have been doing anything but meeting it head on. Among my friends, I remained silent and vague because I did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I chose to remain grey on the matter… {Read More}

My #ifstory | A Reflection on the IF: GATHERING

IF Gathering #ifstory

This weekend I hosted an IF: Local event. My heart is full, it will take some time to ponder and pursue the work God did in me. However, I want to share a reflection on the IF: Gathering along with a taste of the work God did in my life. I am also including a link up for other women to share their #ifstory… {Read More}

New Beginnings are ALWAYS an Option

New Beginnings is Always an Option via Amy E Patton on Life Rewritten

It is February 9- by any measure an ordinary day. February 9 is not known as a day to set goals, create resolutions, or change your life. Except, that is, in God’s economy of time. In the book of Lamentations, King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, tells us that God designed every day for new beginnings… {Read More}

Rwanda, part 4: The Rwandan Genocide, Where was the Rest of the World?

Trek of Rwandan refugees

If the truth about an event that wiped out three-quarters of the Tutsi population at a killing rate five times greater than that of the Nazis existed for decades, then one must ask the question “During the Rwandan Genocide, where was the rest of the world?” and maybe even more important, “Why didn’t the world get involved?” {Read More}

When Fear Silences Our Voice

step up to the microphone and use your voice

Voice. We all have one. But what is it? Is our voice simply the cadence that crosses our lips as a melody of words? Words created by the complex vibration of air across our vocal chords, the rounding of our mouth, and the intentional placement of our tongue against our teeth. Or is it something more… {Read more}