“BLACK FRIDAY COMETH”
Zhanara and I were at the Triangle Town Center Mall the other day, walking around with the kids. We had come to the mall just to walk; however, we found ourselves being bombarded by Christmas Marketing Overload! I wanted to write a post to you about my frustrations with Walmart and Christmas. I didn’t realize that they had repealed their ban on saying Merry Christmas. My anger fumed over the issue since the first Christmas tree I saw this year was at the very entrance to Walmart three weeks ago. It has since subsided, but I am disturbed by the overwhelming pressure to spend money on stuff. (By the way, isn’t kinda ironic that we are being pressured to buy ourselves a special gift, while it is increasingly okay just to get our friends and family a mere, impersonal gift card.)
As we all know, Black Friday is in four days. It is named so because on this traditional shopping days retailers consistently go from being in the red, losing money, to being in the black, making a profit. As I traversed the sea of commercialism and greed, what we call the mall, I was disturbed by something happening in my heart. I was determined not to spend any money, mainly because I don’t have any, but I could not help wanting the things that I saw.
I began imagining what it would be like to have this cell-phone, or that camera, to wear those clothes, or have that gadget. What if my parents got us this for Christmas? It went on and on. Then I became ashamed of my lust for stuff and became thankful that I didn’t have the money to spend and started despising those greedy capitalists and materialist clamoring over things that all perish with use. How quickly I became a judgemental hypocrite!!!!
It is equally as sinful to lust after things that I could never have as to be able purchase them without limit. Glutting ourselves in materialism is equal to dreaming of better material possessions. Even though my reason and better judgment would keep me from going hog wild with my credit card, the fact that I wanted those things so bad, even dreaming of having them revealed my heart. I had to repent! When I did, I felt free from those lusts.
As Black Friday approaches, search your heart and see if there is a lust, greed or gluttony of material possessions present. Perhaps pride is a motivation for materialism–you don’t want to appear like you didn’t have the money to give something. Or you think you are buying someone’s acceptance through a gift. Empty your heart of selfishness and lust, then you may purchase with a clear conscience.
Practically speaking, put more thought into what you are giving to others than what you want to receive. I have learned that a well-thought gift is much more valuable to a person than receiving the most expensive gift. I think the result of such giving would be a value of the relationship more than the value of the gift. I am certain that is how God wants His gifts to us to be perceived.
Consider asking your friends to give to missions, such as the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, or another charitable cause that relieves the burdens of the poor and hungry, rather than giving you a gift. Give yourself to these causes.
How can you avoid feeding your tendencies toward materialism this shopping season?
Please pray and ask God to reveal to you this dangerous sin. Repent of it. Trust in God’s power and ability to transform you and deliver you, not only from the sin, but from the guilt of the sin. Materialism and Pride, as my good friend Mark has said many times, are the two greatest sins plaguing the church today. In Christ, we can be free!