All out of coffee. What can be done? The obvious solution might be to pick some up next time I go to town. But I forgot that day. And the next. And the next. Right about now, some of you are judging me – a real coffee drinker wouldn’t forget. Well judge on, because I’m talking about instant coffee.
So the backup solution was to walk down the street the neighbor’s little home-front shop to buy three sachets of my 3-in-1 drug of choice. In the process, I ended up sitting down and talking about spiritual things with my neighbor. He expressed that even though there was presently so much injustice in the world (in his case a rapidly fluctuating Thai Baht that was bad for his bottom line), nevertheless, the wicked always get what they deserve, and the oppressed are always exonerated. Really? Are you talking about some kind of make-believe world? As it happened, I had just finished reading Psalm 73, so we had a lively talk on the issue.
Many of us prudently opt to get supplies in bulk when we can. Maybe making trips to Makro or Lotus (Thailand’s equivalents to Costco and Wal-Mart) saves a few Baht, but at what cost? I hadn’t had a talk about the things of God with this neighbor for a very long time. How many talks had I missed? Much has been written over the years about the effect that big chain stores have on mom and pop stores and local economies. What effect do they have on the spiritual economy? I’m not talking about a wholesale abandonment of all big chain stores, but why not intentionally get a selection of products at the mom and pop shops? One more way to make sure we are not walled away in mission compounds, removed from the community God has placed us in.