Are you a Black Friday shopper? Then I’d like to bring to your mind a little scripture in Mark’s gospel (8:36) that goes like this, “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” The message Bible puts it this way, “What good would it do to get everything you want and lose the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?”
In the me-version paraphrase, “Is that piece of electronic equipment or that great buy on name brand boots worth compromising your entire Christian list of principles?”
I heard on the news today that the Greater Sacramento Chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is set to unveil 55 billboards touting atheism this Christmas season. Frightening!
But even more frightening, the billboard Christian shoppers will be displaying on Black Friday if we fall into the trap of losing who we really are to the lure of being first, gaining a material advantage over displaying Christ, and worst of all – setting a poor, long lasting example for our children, friends and whoever else might be observing our actions.
Here are my Black Friday tips to assure that your billboard flashes a message of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self control. (Gal 5:22-23)
- Don’t leave the house on Black Friday if you think you won’t be able to display the Christ you want others to see.
- If you do go, at some point in the day, let someone go ahead of you in line and wish them a Merry Christmas (not a Happy Holiday or Seasons Greetings). This will shock some, bless some and make you feel great.
- Smile at everyone. Smile at the young mother with few funds and a deep desire to make her children’s Christmas special. Smile at the elderly gentleman who can’t move as fast as everyone else. Smile at the husband who doesn’t have a clue and is just going where his wife points. Smile especially at the retail clerk who has answered the same question sixteen thousand times without gritting his teeth. Yes, even smile at the cranky woman who wants to argue and complain to everyone around her.
- Hold a door, give up a parking place, pick up a dropped package, do something nice at least once every half hour to remind yourself who you are and what you are trying to convey.
- Hum along with the Christmas music blaring throughout the mall. You will be surprised how it will lift your spirit and take your mind off the inconvenience of the crowds.
- Look like Jesus to the weary, hungry crowd. People aren’t always looking for bargains. They are all too often looking for kindness, compassion, gentleness and hope. God’s gift is that with his empowerment you can be all of those things even on Black Friday!
- Arm yourself with the full armor. You will need it on this day more than you’ve ever needed it before. Remember them? Truth (when the harried clerk gives too much change back), righteousness (the first shall be last kind of mentality in the midst of the shoving), the Gospel of peace (when everything around you is chaos), faith (that God has a better plan when you miss out on the big deal of the day that you got up early and stood in line for), salvation (nothing is worth losing your salvation over) and the sword of the Spirit (the one you wield when you’ve been stabbed in the back, stomped into a corner, shoved out of the way and shoutedat).
And when you get home, pour yourself a hot cup of tea or chocolate. Sit down by the fire. Close our eyes and thank God that with His hand in yours you navigated Black Friday in a manner He would be proud of.
God bless you all this Thanksgiving week!
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’ Matthew 25:21