“So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)
Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when thousands of retailers across the United States slash their prices to draw in shoppers to begin the holiday shopping season. One year, my daughter and I left the house at 7 a.m. to spend six hours going to nine different stores to buy gifts for family members. Experts estimate Americans spend approximately $11.4 billion on arguably the biggest shopping day of the year.
Personally, I do not mind getting out in the crowds and shopping. It is somewhat exciting to be with so many other people attempting to find a great deal that one would otherwise not get at any other time of the year. Ok, call me crazy, but for whatever reason, there is something appealing in the chaos.
When I take a step back and attempt to look at the situation from a more objective position, I believe it points to a potentially much larger issue in our culture: materialism. Dictionary.com defines materialism as “preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.”
One of the primary reasons Israel became slaves in Egypt was because of their materialism. Another word for materialism in the Bible is idolatry. They highly valued material objects over God. So God sent them to Egypt for many years of spiritual discipline for their own good. Eventually God calls Moses to bring His people out of Egyptian slavery: “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)
In Scripture Moses is an early picture for us of what Jesus came to do hundreds of years later in Israel. Jesus Christ came to earth to live a perfect life and then die for the sins of the world so those who believe in Him would have eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). His mission was to deliver us from enslavement of sin to freedom and true life!
Is it wrong to shop on Black Friday or take time to participate in the holiday shopping experience as a whole? Not necessarily. However we should be asking questions such as: “Am I valuing the things of this world that bring temporary pleasure over the invaluable life found only in a relationship with God?” or “Am I placing more emphasis on creating a life of comfort and leisure than seeking to serve others?” Looking within our own heart and inviting God to look too can help us be as certain as possible that we are entering into life-giving activities that bring spiritual value.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13,14)