Food, Family, Football, and Fantastic Sales
Thanksgiving is an amazing time of year for most of us in America. There's a huge feast, family time, and great football.
Then there's Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year for many of us. There are some insane deals on stuff we've been waiting all year to get. Many stores are open before we have time to finish praying over Thanksgiving dinner.
Has Thanksgiving just become the day we eat an oversized, coma-inducing meal that fuels us up for Black Friday shopping? Instead of thankfulness, it often reminds us of the things we needed but didn't remember until we saw the commercials.
On Black Friday, we're bombarded with the idea that there is never enough.
In a sad, twisted irony, Black Friday has become yet another opportunity to indulge the covetousness that so defines our materialistic culture the rest of the year.
Covetousness Is Universal
You know what I'm talking about, don't you? All year you've wanted to get your hands that new iPhone you keep seeing at work. You've stared at that pair of Jordan's at the mall for too long now.
That kitchen upgrade you couldn't afford suddenly seems reasonable. Regardless of what it is, you feel the draw. You reason with yourself, "How do I pass up that big of deal?!" or "I'd be stupid not to buy it today while the price is this low!".
I get it. Some people genuinely don't struggle with materialism or an intense desire for shopping. We can use Black Friday to serve others and to steward our money well. I'm not against Black Friday itself. In fact, I plan to make use of good deals this year, too. We just need to check our hearts and motives as we do our Black Friday shopping each year.
We all covet something, though. Even if you hate Black Friday and the commercialism of Christmas, there's always something. What is it that would make your life worthwhile if you could have it? Is it the perfect family? Is it a spouse? Is it a raise? Whatever it is, we need to take covetousness seriously because God takes it seriously.
Bowing At The Altar?
How many of us would bow down and worship a tree, statue, or false god of another religion? That's outrageous! We are rational, Western Christians who know better than that! And yet, we read in the Bible these shocking words:
"Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry."
Does that change your perspective on that little sin of being envious of that Mercedes, iPad, perfect home, or Puritan book collection? Okay, maybe I'm the only one who covets Puritan book sets! God equates that coveting with bowing down and worshiping another god—even if that god is our own desires.
Idolatry deserves the wrath of God, doesn't it? We see that in the Word of God (Exodus 32-34). Our covetousness deserves the same wrath that a worshiper of Molech deserved in the Old Testament (Leviticus 18:21). Thankfully, for those in Christ, it was paid for by our generous Savior on the cross. Jesus drank the cup of wrath for every bit of it.
Being bitten by a venomous snake is immediately a life or death situation. In many cases, the only way to survive is to receive an antidote to reverse the effects of the venom. In the case of covetousness, God gives us an antidote in Colossians 4:2. Though not the only answer to covetousness, this antidote will benefit us in this holiday season:
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
There are three vital aspects to consider in our fight against covetousness:
Christ Is Greater
Ultimately, covetousness is worshiping our desires more than Christ. He is supremely more glorious and beautiful than any earthly treasure could ever be (Isaiah 4:2). When we see Him for who He is and what He has done, we will be drawn to worship. He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). He is the radiance of God's glory and the exact imprint of His nature (Hebrews 1:3). There is no greater treasure than Christ.
How will you fight covetousness this holiday season? If you have children, how will you teach them Christ-centered thankfulness? Leave some ideas in the comments!
Chrys Jones is a Christian, husband, father of three, pastor, and teacher. He is also a recording artist and producer for Christcentric Records and a book briefer for Accelerate Books. In his free time, Chrys loves to spend time with his family, roast coffee, read good books, and listen to beat tapes and jazz.