“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

Most people are familiar with the concept of Environmental or Carbon Footprints. These terms describe the measurement of the total impact that a person or organization has on the environment. Likewise, people and organizations leave a footprint on social systems with each action that we take. We create culture. We will call this collective impact a “Social Footprint.” 

In the Christian world, “sowing and reaping” is frequently used in reference to evangelistic seeds with eternal harvests.  This usage is absolutely appropriate. However, in reality every action has consequences, not just those that serve direct evangelistic purposes. Every action is a seed that will grow into something much greater.  That something will either bring light or darkness to the world.  Every action has a consequence and as followers of Christ we are commanded to bring light.  We are commanded to sow seeds of goodness in all aspects of life.

Nevertheless, we rarely think of businesses as ministries that we sow seeds into, although we sow seeds into businesses every day. These businesses are powerful organisms.  Every company is driven by its mission and/or vision.  Those missions and visions dictate how a business will exercise its power.  Every time we support a business, we support that business’ mission, vision, and values whether we mean to or not.

It’s imperative that the Church begins looking at businesses as ministries. As you read this list, consider the companies that you support in various ways. Do you know what they stand for? Do you care?  What would your social footprint look like based on your purchasing habits?  What do heaven’s records say about where you have sown your seeds? Do the businesses that you support, in turn, support the principles that you value?  Don’t be hypocrite with your spending.


Without further ado, here are “6 Ways You are Secretly Supporting Businesses You Don’t Like.”

1) Purchases Give Money

Money is the fuel that keeps the fire burning. While a dollar here and there may not seem like much, it is the very substance that keeps the mission moving forward.  This is akin to tithes and offerings that go to nonprofits (except probably a lot more money). Your purchases are a company’s income stream. Did you know that church-going Christians spend roughly 440 BILLION dollars annually in the United States alone. That is nearly 15 times the amount of money the UN estimates it would cost to end world hunger.

2) Purchases Give Validation

Companies pay attention to what you purchase.  Sales represent a demand. As long as there is a demand, those companies will be encouraged to continue creating a supply.  If you buy a product or service, or show interest in it (through clicks, likes, shares, etc.), the industry takes note and will continue to produce more.

3) Vocal Support (Word-of-mouth Advertising)

Most companies rely on word-of-mouth campaigns. Some utilize this as their main source of advertising. Every time that someone tells another person about a product, service, or business, they are giving free advertising to that company.

4) Social Media Support

Posting on Facebook, Twitter, etc. about a company or their product is a major form of support.   (Did you notice that I just did it myself?  I mentioned two real companies.) If you post a picture of yourself at a concert, you are advertising for the artist, likely the location, and certainly the message of that artist.  If you post a picture of you drinking a smoothie or coffee, you are supporting the company that makes that product, as well as the smoothie or coffee industry. If I had a nickel for every person that I heard say that they vehemently support traditional marriage, only to go post a picture of themselves holding a Starbucks cup (Starbucks is a major proponent of same-sex marriage), I would be a rich man. As a clarification point, I am not making a stand for or against traditional marriage here; I am strictly pointing to the contradiction of principles.

5) Product Placement

When people see other people with products, it draws attention to those brands. Whether it’s clothes that are being worn, an empty fast food bag on the floor of a car, or a sound system inside of someone’s home, product placement is free advertising for companies. The more that people see these things, the more the product is being supported.  That is why companies pay big bucks to have a flash of their product shown in movies. Often these things register subconsciously and we don’t even realize that we are being influenced by another person’s product placement.

6) Negative Publicity (Bonus):

Even when we remark about how bad something is, we may be inadvertently advertising on its behalf.  There is at least some truth to the old adage, “there is no such thing as negative publicity.”   

Closing Thoughts

Next time you go to a store, restaurant, theater, etc., ask yourself this: “If this were a mission coming to my church for financial support, would I feel good about giving them the money?” Next time you go to speak, post, tweet, share, etc. about a company ask yourself the same question. Should I be promoting what this brand stands for. Do your research. Don’t be a hypocrite.

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