Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Thanksgiving week – Day five – my wealth and a look at Black Friday

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Thanksgiving week – Day five – my riches

It is no coincidence that the LORD has guided me to write this article and to have it published on what is the most commercial day for the American people.  The day we call “Black Friday”.

The notion of getting up at crazy o’clock to save a few bucks on an item that often times is a convenience item is not a new fad or craze. People have been doing it before I arrived in America and LORD willing they will he doing it long after I am gone. (Either by movement of God or graduating to after posthumous state)

Legalism

Let me begin by saying, I am not a legalist, I have participated in both Black Friday sales and on one occasion I even went out in Thanksgiving night. So i and fully aware of the beam in my own eye and I am certainly not without sin in this area so please don’t think I am lining up to stone you.

Go beyond the ticket price and question the true value

That being said however, we have to go beyond the ticket price and ask “is this the best use of our time? ”

I know what you are thinking, “what about the poor person who, if they don’t shop then it may mean the difference between their kid getting one present instead of two?”

My answer to this is well everyone’s situation is different, the single parent lady with 5 kids that only has $50 to spend on everyone’s Christmas, I see why she is shopping frugally,  but this is not usually the case. This lady is the exception rather than the rule.

Greed not need

The ones who are usually head of the lines in these places are normally buying the big ticket items such as TVs, electronic devices etc. Some are spending thousands of dollars in single purchases. Let me tell you of my Thanksgiving shopping experience a few years back.

My wife and I decided to try it out the first year and made a beeline for a huge department store with a bullseye logo. The doors were just opening and we joined the line midway round the corner of the building, as we got in folks were checking out with TV’s and other huge items, the associate was handing out carts and keeping the stream of people coming in at a slow but safe pace.

The lady pushed a cart (no more than maybe a yard) towards me to keep things moving and as I was about to lay my hand on it the lady in front of me grabbed it announcing “she needed two carts”

Inside were scenes that would invoke PTSD, it was like like a cross between Little Big Horn and a looting, with the only difference being these folks intended to pay at the end. Many customers were glum, shelves were emptying fast, employees were tired, lines got longer and it was at melting pot of negative emotions. I wondered where it all had gone wrong.

I saw mass purchases, a lot of excess and on one occasion I heard and lady tell someone else at the end of the phone (sounded like a conference call at one point) to stay at the places they had been sent to until that lady arrived with her debit card. Sounds like that lady (this is just my reading on the situation) had stationed her kids/family members at stores all over town to maximize the opportunity of getting commercially what everyone wanted for Christmas and satisfy everyone’s material whims.

Let me tell you something crazy, I don’t even remember what we were shopping for that year, (must have been important huh?)

One thing I do remember however is that when when I put back back a crock pot that we decided not to purchase, there was a lady circling the area and swooped in like a vulture and had it in her cart like it was the last crock pot that we was ever going to be made, why do we allow ourselves to get into such a state and I do wonder what Jesus would have made of this stramash?  (To use a Scottish phrase)

Where is my redeemer?

Sadly, I seen little evidence of people preparing to celebrate the redeemer of the world. Yes, maybe one in twenty of the songs playing on the in store radio was a hymn or a song about Jesus and not banging on about winter or Santa.

We certainly were not acting like Christians, the first certainly wasn’t the last, we were pushy, moody, grumpy and greedy. I left the store unhappy with the experience but I didn’t learn the lesson until much later.

You see I should have a burden for those who materialism is what Christmas is all about, those who don’t have about redeemer and Christmas is about maintenance of a quality of life through the giving of gifts that will eventually not last forever. Sometimes in order to make those commercial dreams come true you have to sacrifice a little of your mental health.

How much are you worth?

Make no mistake about it, my kid will get presents, some I will have paid full price for, some I will have got on sale, I will be in shops today when I wake up. I won’t be first in line at midnight or whatever crazy hour the shop I chose to go to opens but I will go, maybe I will spend, maybe not.

You see, I say this with the greatest respect to anyone who reads this,  my time is worth far more and time with family is worth far more than getting 25% off the toy that is the favourite thing of my five year old. (Which will most likely change next month) and most certainly in saying that,  I doubt I will ever rush away from a Thanksgiving dinner to enter “Retail Hades” ever again.

Lastly, some perspective

We are affluent, all of us! The brokest of us still have much more than many others in other countries.  Being the time of year it is I often here the Bob Geldof song “Do they know it’s Christmas time”. That song in the mid 80’s was sold to raise money to feed starving people in countries such as Ethiopia. We have so much, even if we gave away the stuff we were going to trash, blessings would abound.

It is not all doom and gloom, I passed by a clothing recycling station yesterday and was immediately thankful as I saw the station was overflowing,  people do want to help and recycle to help the needy.

How can I help?

Pray, ask God to put someone on your heart to help, you probably know of of a family who are going without, it may even be as drastic as not being able to feed everyone. Never mind get a gift at Christmas.

You are rich, put your wealth where it really matters

(Jesus speaking) Matthew 6:19 (ESV) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Despite your bank balance, you are rich, I am not as concerned with your checking account as your heavenly account with God. Has that been settled yet? Do you know where you are going beyond this life? You can’t take your Black Friday bargains with you.

The Pharaohs of old used to get buried with their wealth and the things that meant the most to them, however, archaeologists will tell you, the treasures did not go with them, it is as simple as that.

What about me?

Personally,  my riches are in my relationship with Jesus Christ, my love for my wife and lastly my love for my daughter. Yes I am spoiled,  I get enough to eat, my birthday and other special days are celebrated.

Let’s be honest, we all get greedy, you should see some of the stuff that I have got bent out of shape over and you would laugh, but we have to get our priorities straight.

Truth be told, if I had only my wife beside me and my child was the only one getting presents,  I would still be a rich man, wealthy in heaven and rich in love.

The other Black Friday

Happened when Jesus died to become your redeemer,  there is more to Christmas than retail craziness and spending lots of money, it is the celebration if the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth who died for the sins of the world, please contact us if you wish to know more.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

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