Long before the day after Thanksgiving became known as Black Friday, there was another Friday that was black. On that dark Friday, over 1,900 years ago, an obedient Son laid down His life to ensure that His Father’s Story – which includes His will to dwell among people in an unhindered relationship again – would not be thwarted by anything ever again.
Jesus, whose name means The LORD (YHWH) is salvation, was brutally executed. The forces which control this world – and keep it in darkness – deceived people into killing the Prince of Peace. Yet in a beautiful twist of irony so majestic that it could only be found in God’s Story, the servant who laid His life down was raised back to life and is now enthroned as the King above all kings…and the whole world groans, longing for His return when He will make things right.
Wow, there is a lot that needs explained in the above paragraphs...but I want to keep this short. Therefore I will cut to the chase.
What bearing does that black Friday have on the Black Friday that is now less than 48 hours away? I would say a lot... Yet if I expounded on even some of the “a lots,” this would not be short. So, while it is true that Jesus died because of the sin of humanity...it is also true that we do not grasp how far that sin reaches its ugly hands.
It certainly shows up in greed, and while other descriptors could be used to describe these Black Friday disasters, greed certainly is applicable.
But alas, in order to keep this short, I am not going to rant and rail against Black Friday (like I kind of did last year). Yet more importantly, in order to turn one of the evil one’s weapons against him, I am going to say the following (by the way, the cross gives us the opportunity to turn every weapon of the evil one against him). If you plan to go Black Friday shopping I am not going to try and talk you out of it. However, I do want you to consider – and actually do – the following…
1) For whatever amount of money you save on Black Friday, give a sizeable portion of that to something like The BigDent [www.bigdent.org]. The Big Dent is a Christian organization that works with microfinance to help people in the two-thirds world with a small loan. This loan is then paid back, which provides more money to loan to other small businesses. This is a way the cycle of poverty can be broken. Oh yeah, you do not even have to fund the whole loan if you did not save that much…but there are so many on the list – with varying amounts – that you may be surprised.
Here is another one that extends beyond Black Friday.
2) For whatever amount of money you spend on your “Christmas shopping” as a whole, give a portion of that away to a local charity. What we do at New Life Christian Church, in Emporia KS, where I preach is this:
We encourage families to at least “tithe” (give 10% - they can give more) of whatever money they spend on Christmas gifts back to the church. We then take this money and send it to The Voice ofthe Martyrs [www.persecution.com] in order to help persecuted Christians around the world. This help does take the form of a Christmas Care pack – but these care packs are much different than what many in our culture would think. This year they are going to Nepal, and $25 will provide a backpack, a children’s Bible, school supplies, a sweater for school, socks, and shoes.
While I am sure there are other better ideas out there somewhere, that is not the point. The point is people today can harness an aspect of our culture’s Black Friday and be a light shining into the darkness for others in great need. Nice huh? In other words, turn a weapon of the evil one – i.e., grossly disproportionate wealth – against him by diverting some “savings,” and even planned expenditures, to help others.
There, how’s that for short? Oh yeah, even if you are not a Christian and are reading this blog, please feel free to give to the above organizations. I think if you checked into them your heart would break for what those they help experience. However, if you want to give to a local charitable organization instead, I have no problem with that.
The reality is, the black Friday over 1,900 years ago does have profound implications for the Black Friday in less than 48 hours. To not consider those implications is less than Christian – if you are a follower of Jesus that is.