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A Black Friday Epiphany

November 27, 2015

For several years now I have been a grumpy cynic about Black Friday shopping.  I frowned on the way we follow a day set aside for giving thanks for all God has given us with a day dedicated to getting more stuff.  I’d shake my head to see on TV the ever-popular “Black Friday stampedes” of shoppers rushing headlong into stores as they open, particularly if fights broke out.

But now I am not so sure.

A few years ago my niece and her family had their house all but destroyed by super storm Sandy.  They not only had major damage to their home but lost everything on the ground floor as six feet of water rushed in.  The irony of this was that they are the most financially practical young family I know.  From the day of their marriage they have been financially prudent; avoiding debt, saving for major purchases, setting aside a rainy day fund, etc.

Sadly, a rainy day fund doesn’t cover – even with flood insurance – all the costs of replacing everything they owned.  So they decided to suck it up and start over, doing what they needed now and delaying items that they could live without until the funds were there.  But the costs were so high that, even now three years later, they are not back to break-even.

It was with this in mind that we saw a Black Friday ad offering a steep discount on some kitchen equipment they needed.  The price would have been far outside my gift-giving ability but, thanks to a 75% discount, we were able to buy it for them for Christmas.  So we braved the crowds and managed to get what they needed.  While there I picked up a great buy on a new pair of shoes and my wife was able to get an equally great buy on a winter sweater.

As we left the store with our purchases it hit me.  What if Black Friday shopping was not just a mad rush to accumulate more stuff?  What if it was, or could be, good Christian stewardship?  Maybe Black Friday is like everything else in this world.  You can grab hold of all the bargains you can possibly afford; or you can make the funds you have buy more needed items and thoughtful gifts than you ever thought possible.  The choice is yours.  The great sales are either your idol or your servant.

Perhaps tonight I will see another “Black Friday stampede” on the evening news.  If so, I will pray that all the good stewards in the crowd have been blessed to accomplish their goal of wise purchases.


From → Christianity

One Comment
  1. If everyone thought like you, there would be no stampedes. We spent the day in a small town. My wife took our daughter and son-in-law to Payless and bought them shoes. There was one other customer in the store. I took my mother to a used book store that is closing on Christmas Eve. Closing for good. We spent a few dollars there, and then met my wife and the others at a coffee shop where I had the best cup of hot chocolate I have ever had in my life. I grew up in this town. I think I could live here again.

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