By Janet Thompson, Crosswalk.com
What are you doing this Thanksgiving? Praising or Shopping?
In the past several years, instead of Americans enjoying a special day with family and friends while giving thanks for their many blessings and the freedoms we possess, retailers are turning it into just another shopping day to acquire more possessions. One of Satan’s greatest temptations is the lure of materialism: acquiring. Many will try to turn Thanksgiving into giving thanks for such a great deal or justify being good stewards of their money. Naught! You can’t have your turkey and get your stuff too.
The Black Friday Frenzy Is Creeping into Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is no longer a sacred holiday. Some retailers have preempted and upstaged it by trying to get a jumpstart on “Black Friday” and opening on Thanksgiving Thursday! Three years ago when this trend started, stores opened at 9 PM or midnight, but this year many stores are pushing the envelope and opening Thanksgiving morning.
Sadly, millions of people plan a quick “Thank you God for this meal,” which they’re gulping down to be the first in line for the “can’t miss, one-time-only, one-hour-only bargains.” Seriously? These stores run sales year round and even more at every holiday. And financial analysts show that many of those stores opening on Thanksgiving are underperforming and want us to help them get back into the black. Again, I ask, “Seriously?”
When I mentioned at our Thanksgiving dinner table two years ago that I found it sad when a grandma at the table had to go to work later at a store that was opening that evening, there were questions as to what I saw wrong with this new “tradition.” Here were my answers:
1. Instead of focusing an entire day on thanking God for providing all we need and already have (something we should do every day) there’s a frenzied rush to acquire more than we need.
2. Store workers no longer enjoy an entire holiday off. While shoppers are trampling each other for the “only-while-supply-lasts deals,” store employees have had to skip dessert to get back to work.
3. It’s definitely not God enticing crazed consumers to go shopping on a day set aside to thank Him for life, provision, and freedom. So if it isn’t God...who else would it be whispering in ears, “Did God really say you shouldn’t go shopping on Thanksgiving? He just doesn’t want you to get that great deal.” Hmmm seems like a conversation something like that took place in the Garden of Eden.
4. How long will it be before after-Christmas sales start Christmas afternoon? If shoppers really support the opening of stores on Thanksgiving . . . it’s only a matter of time.
In Exodus 16:4, the Lord said to Moses regarding the food He was providing for the Israelites, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.” Later in Scripture, we learn that those who gathered and horded more than they needed lost everything.
In Matthew 6:24-26 God warns and assures us: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?—
And in 1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
You Can Make A Difference
Remember, if it’s not profitable for the stores to open on Thanksgiving—if we don’t shop—this craziness will stop. There are always going to be “incredible sales” and “great deals.” Don’t be fooled by their marketing ploys.
Enjoy and be content with what the Lord has given you this Thanksgiving. Be generous with your time, pray for wisdom and discernment in your acquisitions, and above all, share with everyone you meet the greatest “deal” of all time—eternal life through believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Janet Thompson is an award-winning author and speaker and the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring.
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Publication date: November 26, 2013