I couldn't help but have mixed feelings about the festival, though. I know, that's weird! Festivals are fun, right? Who wouldn't like food, drink, and art??!
Well, me... I guess. As we wandered through the art and food booths, I kept looking at it all from the perspective of need vs. want. Everything there was a want. Everything! There was beautiful jewelry, succulent treats, and lovely pottery... but they were all desires, not necessities.
It's not that I don't spend money on myself; I do. I even purchased a new purse today. But I don't browse-shop. I don't "go shopping," looking around for whatever-might-strike-my-fancy.
And tonight, it really hit me: There was not one thing available for purchase at this festival that would be considered a necessity.
So what? You might ask. Consuming is the American Way!
But... is it God's way???????
In Acts 2:44-45, the Bible says, "And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need."
Is there any possible way that my desire for a glitzy painted hat can compete with a Compassion International child's need for food and schooling? Is it even feasible that my hunger for fried cheese curds (before my three-course meal!) could be described as a "need"?
I don't think so. And that's what made my journey down the festival booths uncomfortable for me. There are so many deep, desperate needs in our world, needs for which my $3.00 or $12.00 could actually make a difference.
A disclaimer: I am NOT a puritan about this! I buy plenty of things I don't "need!" But I am developing a heightened awareness of the triviality of some ways in which I spend money... and of the great needs that we Christians are called to meet.
I'm not claiming that all Christians should avoid festivals, or festival-purchases! I simply think that we, as Christians, should think about how we spend our money. We should ask ourselves, "Is this how God would direct us to spend our money (or our time, for that matter!)?