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Jesus and Black Friday
November 25

The things you own end up owning you. This is my favorite line for the late 90’s movie Fight Club, and it’s even more relevant today than it was nearly 20 years ago. It seems like we love our stuff, but shortly after we get our stuff, we go out and get more stuff. The stuff that we have fills a void for a short time, but then a newer version comes out and we are filled with an insatiable need to have the newest model. Or what we have fades in relevance or style and we need to update what we have to keep up with the ever-changing popular culture. What a vicious cycle. At some point the things that we own do end up owning us. 

I heard a well-known pastor once say that the greatest issue facing the church today is consumerism. That claim seemed odd at first because the church has been wrestling with a variety of issues for a long time. So, how is consumerism the most challenging issue facing the church today? (Well it did give birth to the prosperity gospel...) In the wilderness the Hebrews were instructed to take only the manna that was needed for the day and leave the rest behind. When Jesus sent out his disciples for the first time, he explicitly told them not to take anything with them, but to trust that they would be provided for. Every week many churches pray ...give us today our daily bread. But instead we have multiple mini-storage business in our neighborhoods, we have 2 and 3 car garages but a car never goes in the garage because it is so filled with stuff, and we put extra storage on the top or back of our cars when we take a trip just so that we can have all of our stuff. It may not seem like we are worshiping false idols, but our stuff certainly takes up a lot of space in our souls. Is consumerism in direct conflict with the Christian faith?

Unless you've been living in a cave, you're probably aware that we are just hours away from shopping heaven. It’s not just Black Friday now because stores are opening on Thanksgiving to get a jump on shoppers, and some online sales have already begun. We have been flooded with ads with every business begging for our attention and our credit cards. We are almost captive to this never-ending cycle. Aren't we more than consumers? Aren't we more than our stuff? So, here's my challenge for you - don't buy into it. Believe that you are more than your stuff. Find your worth in something greater than things. Go out of your way to do something for someone instead of fighting mall traffic. Go outside. Give to a charity. Do a random act of kindness. Call someone on the phone and make it an intentional phone call instead of a way to pass the time in line. 

For a few years now, I've seen this comic strip where modern folks are having coffee with Jesus. They're funny because they focus on things that didn't necessarily happen in the Bible, but it’s pretty obvious how Jesus would respond. I wonder if the writer has done one about Black Friday because I find Jesus shopping on Black Friday hilarious! The idea that Jesus would get up before sunrise to wait in line to buy something or Jesus carrying a gigantic big screen TV box in the parking lot just gets me. Maybe Tyler Durden wasn't a prophet, but being owned by our stuff certainly seems like a struggle right now. Here's the good news, you don't have to be. You are more than your stuff, you are a child of God.

Grace and Peace, 

Pastor Chris

Last Published: November 21, 2018 11:20 AM