Read Luke 6
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” (Matthew 5:40-42)
It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and if you are reading this there are a few possibilities. 1) You are reading it in a long line waiting to check out at your local department store and have nothing better to do at the moment. 2) You just got home from an all-night shopping spree and were just checking your email before hitting the sack for an all day recovery nap. 3) You just woke up from a nice sleep after eating tons of Turkey and stuffing yesterday; you are not the type to rush to the store for anything and so you are reading this with fresh and rested eyes. 4) You are reading this from outside of the United States and, perhaps, none of the top 3 really applies.
Yes, today is the day Americans like to call “Black Friday,” meaning that it’s the days that sales go through the roof as people go shopping for Christmas toys and goodies for their families. Traditionally, black Friday was the day that stores went from being “in the red” to being “in the black”, meaning that they were no longer negative in the bank account after “Black Friday,” hence its name.
Now, people head out on Black Friday with the best of intentions. They want to buy as much for their kiddies and family members as possible, for the least amount of money. After all, Christmas is about giving, isn’t it? The problem is that, en masse, people tend to get out of control. What starts off as a nice idea to buy people things that we can give them, turns into a stampede as people literally push through and over people in order to be the first to get their pick! People have literally died on “Black Friday” as a result of the herd, and I do mean herd, of people trampling over them.
On the flip side, there are billions of people around the world that are going without food, water, shelter, clothing, etc. There are community outreach organizations that will not be able to reach all of the people in need in their communities as a result of a lack of funding. So many people in this world, and in our own communities, are deprived of the major necessities and yet where do we spend our money and resources?
In the end, we like to think that we are teaching our children and our families about giving; in reality, we are teaching our children and families about receiving. Christmas is very much centered around our families and close friends, making sure that the wealth is shared our own. Sure, we’ll drop a coin in a bucket on the way into Wal-mart, for good measure; however, what is important is that OUR kids get the presents they want, that OUR family gets the presents we feel they need or would like, and that OUR friends get gifts too.
Jesus had a much more radical view of what it meant to give. For Jesus giving was to be unconditional, which means that we shouldn’t give just based on relation or friendship or any other kind of condition. And, for Jesus, there was no limit as to how much one should give. Jesus gave his entire life, literally, so that others could have the life he gave up. This devotional is written, not to discourage you from shopping for gifts for your little ones, family and friends but, rather, to encourage you to view the world as your children, family and friends. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world indeed if the poor, the sick, the naked, the destitute, the blind, and all of those in need got to experience “Black Friday”? If you answered yes to that last question, the challenge for you is to do something about it. God bless you as you answer that challenge!
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
It is true that to give is to truly receive; however, you receive so that you may give even more.
Lord, let me be a blessing in the lives of those who need it. Thank you for those who have been a blessing in my life. Amen.