Behind The Shopping Spree
The days after Thanksgiving and before Christmas represent the busiest shopping season of the year. Its shopping insanity. People getting up at 3am, waiting in long lines, arguing over the last video game system or the new Elmo even stampedes and real fist fights. It seems each year it gets a little bit more intense and the retailers always try to push the envelope a little bit more in their marketing efforts to get us to spend more. Even with gas prices 85 cents higher this year and a much shakier economy, the Friday after Thanksgiving aka Black Friday got higher sales than last year. Nearly 8% higher!
What does that tell you? Americans are continuing to fall for The Sales Pitch! What are they buying into? Theyre purchasing a false reality that continues to deepen. The average American spends $1.22 for every $1 they earn. Simple math will tell you that wont add up for much longer. Its not just individuals, but even the country as a whole. The U.S. government is closing in on $9 Trillion in debt. The dollar is at one of its weakest points in history as many countries and companies are switching over to other stronger currencies.
Even Jay Z is flashing Euros in his latest music video the Benjamins are so yesterday! So, heres Americans living in the richest country in the world and its still not enough they have to spend beyond their means because theyre still not satisfied. It seems we cant appreciate what weve been blessed with.
I did a song with my man Surreal called Appreciate from the Un.orthodox album and the first verse talks about this mentality:
We always look to whats next, but what about now / We grind long hours by the sweat of our brow / The systems so foul / Got us thinking we need it / Work more, spend more, got us thinking well beat it / But the cycles repeated / We get so conceited / It gets me heated / So I heeded the callin / Im not called to be ballin / But, thats the freight that most hip-hop is haulin / And its appaulin / From that point of view were all broke / King Solomon said riches are just like smoke / Theyll vanish / But most of us live so dope compared to the rest of the planet / But, some of yall starin at me like Im speaking Spanish / I dont have 3 houses and 9 cars, but I think Ill manage / I think Ill get by / Like Christ said its easier for a camel to go through a needles eye / I appreciate
So here we are The Christmas season a time to give and receive and appreciate. Many of us go way beyond what we can really give just so we can try to impress others. We just charge it or take money from somewhere else. Many people find themselves getting deeper and deeper into debt.
That dude King Solomon had some words of wisdom about debt. Proverbs 22:7 says, The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender. In the original text of Hebrew that word servant also means slave or bondage. Many people have become slaves to their debt and they are in some serious financial bondage.
If youre reading this and you are a Christ follower thats not how were supposed to be rolling. Were supposed to be the ones that are setting the example and learning to exercise that fruit of the spirit; self-control, even when everyone else is flossing and spending beyond what they really have. But it feels good to spend doesnt it? Yes, it can but when we over spend we find ourselves falling into these traps that effect many other areas of our lives.
It can effect our stress levels, our relationships, our time with God, and if youre married your spouse and your whole family. This is the kind of stuff that can wreck families. It does every day! This is the kind of stuff that pulls people away from Gods plan for their lives. It even pulls people out of full time ministry or any ministry at all. Talented MCs drop the mic because their personal finances are in disarray and they cant continue to fund their music
. Thankfully some also step away knowing theyre not in the place to be a leader and a role model until they work on some of that personal stuff. But, it doesnt have to go down like that.
This season represents the greatest gift that we could ever receive the creator of the universe sending his only son to be the sacrifice for humanity so they could get reconnected back to him. Thats what its about. Its seems weve lost the essence of that in the midst of the shopping spree madness. Think about that then think about what Jesus says in Matthew 6:21 The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.(Message Bible)
This article isnt about not Christmas shopping its about keeping things in perspective. Its great to go out and spend within your means and get some things for the people you have relationships with and the people you love and care about. But, consider the most important relationship you could ever have most of us here would agree thats with Christ.
What are we doing for him? What are we getting him? This is the celebration of his birthday right? Imagine going to a huge birthday party and everyone brings gifts for each other, but the person with the actual birthday doesnt get anything, or they get the scraps or leftovers. Thats what happens every year at Christmas.
Many that regularly give to Gods kingdom give much less in December and the months that follow because they spend it on everyone else and he comes last. Some stop giving at all, because God isnt factored into the celebration one bit.
So again think about Jesus words Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. I encourage you look at your shopping budget and this year plan to give your greatest gift to a solid church or solid organization that is pushing Gods kingdom forward after all this is his party right?