Now that Black Friday is over it’s time to reflect on the state of American society in 2011. Black Friday takes its name from the fact that stores hope to push their bank accounts into the black by increasing the volume of sales. It traditionally follows Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving Day originated with the early pilgrims thanking God for His gracious provision for them. They acknowledged His provision and protection, and while they looked back with praise they looked forward with hope, trusting in the Lord. I suspect many in 2011 have lost the significance of Thanksgiving Day and do not know whom they are thanking and for what. However, the fact that there is still day in the national calendar called Thanksgiving Day is to be welcomed. America has enjoyed great spiritual blessings. It has experienced a number of spiritual revivals and has produced some great preachers in the past. These, along with the religious freedom its people enjoy, are causes for praise. God is to be thanked for these great tokens of His mercy.
But back to Black Friday. Is it not ironic that the day following Thanksgiving Day (and in some cases on Thanksgiving Day evening itself), there is such a display of selfishness, covetousness, and greed? As people stormed into stores looking for discounted goods, they had little or no regard for others. It was trample on or be trampled on. The sight of adults pouring through open doors, rushing towards heavily stocked shelves, pushing and shoving, shouting and screaming, in a mad frenzy of barely controlled hysteria, was disturbing!
I’m not opposed to those who enjoy shopping with their families—even early in the morning, though such dawn excursions are not for me—and I am certainly not against a bargain. In days of economic hardship I understand the need to be prudent and careful with money; but when it reaches the point of police involvement, guns being fired, pepper spray being used, and people fighting over electronic goods there is something seriously wrong! Surely it is a sign that people are living with wrong priorities?
Paul said, “Having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:8). He added, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (verse 10). That is why he said to young Timothy, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (verse 11). The truths of these texts have been largely forgotten by a godless society. Many are seeking the world at the expense of their souls, and they will pay a heavy and eternal price for the neglect. Many have made goods their god and have ignored the issues of their souls. Christ spoke of a man who did that in Luke 12 and finished the parable by saying, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” Now that’s a solemn summons! The events on Black Friday this year reveal much more than an economic crisis. There is a crisis in society that stems from a rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ.