My friend Carl talked about it Sunday morning, I mentioned it and it’s been all over the news. A man, working at a Walmart in the States was trampled to death by 2000 shoppers as they rushed over him to get a bargain when he opened the door to start “Black Friday”. Sunday, when I mentioned that event, I was noticing that the Church has a history of “sanctifying” the bad stuff and calling it good. Where Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple we’ve found a way to make money off God and call it good. Many churches will now accept your donation via Mastercard/Visa and help you go a little deeper in debt. (I understand reward miles and the other perks and how many of us pay off our credit cards each month – but I also realize most of us don’t or those pesky Capital One people would stop calling me at home.)
Just this past week I received 3 emails from ministries who explained they were going through difficult economic times and they promised that if I sent them money “in faith” that God would multiply that blessing back to me and help me out of my economic hard times. I’m writing them back and suggesting they send a generous offering to me and let God multiply the blessing back on them – win/win. (for the record – I don’t believe that will work but if their theology is correct then it makes more sense for them to send out money than it does to ask me for an offering.)
God created Adam and Eve and didn’t give them “stuff”, not even clothes. We’re supposed to believe that God’s idea of perfection has changed and He’s finally figured out that what we need is “more stuff”. The streets “being made of gold” in the future should be an indicator of the value God places on gold – same as we value asphalt.
In our consumer driven culture it’s easy to understand how the pursuit of stuff has made its’ way into the community of Jesus followers. And it’s easy to see how the pursuit of Jesus has shifted from Jesus being THE Way to Jesus becoming the way for me to get stuff. But we’re called to be “counter-cultural” and to value what God values, to esteem what He admires.
So, what’s important to God? What tops His list at Christmas time? Our sons, our daughters, our spouses, our neighbours, our friends, you. God sees something in you. He also sees it in the guy who tortured me in Junior High gym class. I get what He sees in you but honestly, I’m lost when it comes to what He sees in that guy from my gym class. And sometimes I’m lost when it comes to what He sees in me. Been there, done that? This Christmas season we’ll be encouraging our church family to make a list and consider what’s really important.