We’ve all read the articles and watched the news stories about Christians who are boycotting certain companies because of the beliefs and comments made by executives or CEOs.
But, is boycotting every non-Christian company the correct response to a culture that’s moving further and further away from God?
The reality is we live in a secular society, and so did Jesus.
At the time of Jesus’ ministry, Caesar was brutal to anyone who refused to worship him, and the persecution of those who began following Jesus was commonplace.
Paying the required Imperial Tax to Caesar’s empire meant funding everything that Caesar believed and implemented…which was pretty much against everything Jesus taught.
Jesus and his followers also had to buy food and clothing at markets owned by non-Christians, work for business owners who were non-Christians, and live amongst non-Christians.
Yet, did Jesus withdrawal from society?
Did He gather all of His followers up and tell them to live in an isolated community?
Did He teach we should only do business with, work for, buy from, or engage in community with Christians?
14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied.
17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. ~Mark 12:14-17
The Apostle Paul also wrote instructions for how we are to live under the authority of others:
1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. ~1 Timothy 2:1-4
How we choose to live and react to authority, especially under unfair circumstances, will preach louder than anything taught in our churches.
If we’re not careful, we’ll boycott ourselves right out of the mission field.
How far should we go with the boycott approach?
If we start boycotting one company, then we’ll have to boycott 99% of the items in our home, what we drive, what we wear, the schools our kids attend, the sports organizations we cheer for, some of our friends or family members, quit our job (unless we happen to work for Chick-fil-A or a church), and stop using money and the internet… to keep from being a hypocrite.
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. ~Colossians 4:5-6
How is boycotting Starbucks, for example, “making the most of every opportunity?”
In fact, it’s wasting a huge mission field of people who are loved by God and who were created for a purpose. By having an attitude that those people who work for non-Christian companies aren’t worth our time or the grace God has already shown us, we are essentially saying, “Go to hell.”
I’ll let that sink in a little.
I’ve never seen a non-Christian company suddenly start honoring Jesus with their decisions because of a boycott. I have witnessed someone surrendering their life to Christ because of unconditional and unexpected kindness, grace, and love.
Yes, we are to be in the world but not of it.
But, we will never have control over where the money we spend goes. What we can control is how we use the mission fields of our life to spread the Gospel in unexpected places.
We are also never off the hook from The Great Commission.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… ~Jesus (Matthew 28:19)
The Body of Christ needs to develop some thicker skin, put on the full armor of God, and change our attitude from
“Believe what I believe or I will leave nasty social media comments and protest with really large signs made from neon colored sharpie markers and poster boards from Walmart!”
(all of which we’ll have to boycott, by the way)
“I would like a soy mocha frappe grande and I would like to pay for the person behind me.”
“We were about to pray over our meal and wanted to know if there was something you needed us to pray for.”
Ultimately, we are faced everyday with two choices: isolate ourselves from society and be offended by everything, or engage.
I choose to engage.