Jesus and Black Friday

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16

Many retailers will open their doors this Friday at midnight, ushering in the Christmas shopping season. Black Friday translates into commercial success for stores and malls. Shoppers are treated to special discounts, parking lot camping experiences and minor injuries. Employees have their holidays and time with families cut short to help the masses get this year’s most popular toys before they fly off the shelves.

Copy_of_Pieter_Bruegel_Elder_Adoration_of_Kings

Adoration of the Kings, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Some would call this a part of the American Christmas experience. Others would call it another symptom of consumerism. The latter has been around since the early 20th century.

The industrial revolution created mass production, which in turn created an economic crisis: the supply of goods grew beyond consumer demand. The answer was to manipulate the desires of people and encourage spending through advertising. As a result, we are continually urged to fulfill our desires by consuming a broad range of goods and experiences.

We are all deeply affected by consumerism: it shapes how we think, act and even run our churches.

We face the constant temptation to confuse desires with needs. Our contentment depends on our salary, the car in the garage and the amount of gifts under the tree. As a result our life decisions are not guided by a desire to follow Jesus. Instead, our choices are guided by a desire for success and personal satisfaction.

Christ calls us to faithfulness. The world needs disciples of Jesus who are generous, compassionate and other-focused. Before you grab that toy or click that mouse, remember Jesus’ call to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
This entry was posted in Black Friday, christianity, Christmas, consumerism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Jesus and Black Friday

  1. Sharon W says:

    Enjoyed this! I have never been a Black Friday shopper. Seemed wrong to count my blessings one day and then go out and storm the stores. Sales are good for some things but just think. If they can sell it for that price on that day they should be able to sell it for that price everyday! Christmas has lost its true meaning and I really don’twant to be someone who promotes that even further!

  2. Pingback: Jesus and Black Friday - HUNTINGTOWN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

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