19 Nov Redeeming Black Friday
by Will Jackson
Financial generosity in the New Testament is not prescribed with a neat-and-tidy formula to follow. For some of us, that can be frustrating. We want to be obedient to Jesus’ call to follow him, but we also want to know “the bottom line.”
As we see so often in the Bible, financial generosity is far less about a dollar amount than it is about a heart-posture that blossoms outwardly. While faithfulness unto Christ can’t be quantified on a scale, we know this: Christians are called to sacrifice for the sake of others.
Of all the people in the world, we’ve been given “first dibs” as Jesus’ ambassadors to offer our jacket to someone shivering in the cold, our time to a loved one walking through trials, and our energy to friends packing a moving truck—not to mention, we have been entrusted with the good news of the gospel that we might liberally give it away.
As you consider the call to sacrificial living, I invite you to consider a particular phenomenon with me: Black Friday.
Let’s all agree . . . Black Friday can be great. For the frugal and the discount-jockey among us, it affords a once-a-year opportunity to get the most bang for our buck. Yet, if we are honest, sometimes it encourages more spending than is necessary or helpful. It can lead some into credit card debt. And we know, it has no power to truly satisfy.
Now, hear me out, I don’t think Black Friday is inherently bad. I’ve certainly taken advantage of it. But I’ve also seen it take advantage of me. We justify our binge-shopping by the allure of the discount and often find ourselves spending far beyond a reasonable amount on a bulk of items that will exhaust their amusement-potential far more quickly than we’d like to admit.
Even more, if we are not careful, we can let Black Friday direct our hearts—which are otherwise intended by God for generosity—toward selfish pursuits. A marketing strategy designed to help people purchase Christmas gifts for others, now consistently yields billions of dollars in revenue—anecdotally speaking, from purchases made for the buyers themselves.
Here’s my suggestion. This Black Friday (and Cyber Monday), try these two things.
First, commit yourself to shopping for others only. If you’re the deal finder in the family, you don’t have to let that talent go to waste—but as an exercise in generosity, redeem it for the sake of others.
Second, in addition to limiting your deal-hunting for the sake of others, consider setting some money aside for Giving Tuesday.
Let me be clear, what I’m not advocating is the standard model of operating on a Giving Tuesday, in which someone is provided with a day to penitently make up for their shopping binge over the weekend—a healing salve for the guilt stored up from selfish buying (make no mistake, this is why the people in charge placed this event following Friday and Monday). However, if we want to align our hearts to Christ’s cause and follow his example in sacrificing that which we hold dear, Giving Tuesday is low hanging fruit—if we approach it as such, as an opportunity for generosity and sacrifice.
In 2017, as documented in an article published on The Atlantic, an estimated $200 million would be given that calendar year. As the article goes on to state, that’s a sizable amount of money worth celebrating, but it doesn’t compare to the seismic $5 BILLION that would be spent on Black Friday alone.
What if the average American gave 10% of what they typically spend on Black Friday to worthy causes on Giving Tuesday? What if those who were Christians channeled this effort into supporting their local churches or funding a missionary on the field?
Generosity fuels the mission, and the mission is ours.
This holiday season, would you consider making a special gift to the ministry efforts of Crosspoint? Whether funding our efforts to train the next generation of disciple makers, helping us launch the next church planting team, or moving forward with the next step in our renovation plans, every little bit counts.
If you would like to learn more about financial generosity or to make a donation, please visit crosspointclemson.org/give.
Will is the Executive Pastor at Crosspoint and is passionate about seeing Christians equipped to go on mission. Outside of work, Will enjoys spending time with his wife, Kimberly, and their children, Miles and Emma.