November 28, 2014

Black Friday

So it's Black Friday. Yep, that is what the day after Thanksgiving is called. I think it is ironic because the day we supposedly give thanks to the Lord is on Thursday. We gather around the table, raise our voices to praise the One who created us, who sustains us, and who provides for us. We thank our friends, our family, and we thank the Lord for His many blessings. We spend the rest of the day stuffing our faces with food. We then sit around the TV and watch football or the parade (on tape) or some holiday special. It is a time of warm hearts, warm feelings, and warm fuzzies. We are happy for one day, thankful and grateful for the myriad of good things in our lives. We kiss and hug our friends and family goodbye as the day draws to a close. The leftovers are neatly packed into the refrigerator and our tummies are stuffed and well-satisfied. We settle into the night thinking what a good day it was, how the turkey turned out just right, and how the stuffing and mash potatoes were the best.

The alarm rings at 2 AM (for some it never rings because they never went to bed) and we roll out of bed and get dressed. We are not heading to work or to visit some sick friend. No, we are heading to Target, Walmart, Bass Pro Shops (name your poison) to SHOP! We are there in line at the crack of dawn to get the best prices on the best stuff so that we can look, can feel, and be our BEST. Of course, everyone knows that the best prices are not on Black Friday, but that they are on the weekend before Thanksgiving, right? You will get NO great deal pressed into the milieu of shoppers. You will only get scratched, screamed at, and shoved at as you try to get the last Elsa on the shelf.

I have never gone in for the Black Friday shopping thing. I have never felt the need or had the desire for that "experience." I know some people love the "event" of it all, but for me, it just seemed a waste of good sleeping time. Plus, I never had disposable income that would allow me to "shop" without planning, purposing, or patiently waiting. No, I normally purchase items, even gifts, after careful planning so that I don't overspend or buy something not really needed. Yet, there are millions of people out there who fill their lives with STUFF and Black Friday is the DAY to celebrate consumerism (the religion of I mean). Yes, I am a consumer. I consume good and services just like the next person. I just don't bow down to the almighty consumer and go to the throne to worship the idol of STUFF.

Perhaps this is why the Lord has seen fit to keep me in modest circumstances. I have my needs met with sufficiency and abundance, but my life is not affluent by any means. I have food on my table, and I have good purposeful work to do. I may feel the pinch at times, but the Lord has provided exactly what I need in the time when I have needed it. God is good, so very good.

Matthew 6:31-34 The Message (MSG)

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
I like the Message version because it takes the emphasis off food and shelter and places it on the spirit of the text, the idea that we worry about "getting" rather than focusing on "giving" to others.

Thanksgiving is the time when we GIVE thanks to God for His grace and provision. The day after Thanksgiving should be no different for those of us who have claim Jesus as Lord and Savior. Instead of worrying about what kinds of deals we can get on this one consumerism-filled day, why not spend the day giving to others, cherishing others, encouraging others. Let the worry about the cares of this life go for more than one day out of the year. Remember the true Black Friday happened over 2000 years ago. It was the day our Lord went to the cross to pay the penalty for all of our sin. It was the day He was crushed and bruised for our iniquity. Black Friday is remembered for the sacrificial giving of a loving and dying Savior. Let us all remember the true message of what it means to give of one's self, to lay down one's life for another.

So today as I sit here in my office and I work on papers and assignments, I think about all that I have to be thankful for and I remember that my Lord knows my needs (worldly cares). He knows what I need more than I do. I rest therefore in His sovereignty and His sufficiency. I rest in His care today and I give Him thanks for He is GOOD.

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