Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
“Coming Soon”. Those words can be dreadful. Sometimes the question to ask is “what is coming?”. Often times it is a movie or huge sale. After Thanksgiving Day, that sale is the annual “Black Friday” sale.
Black Friday. If you have ever worked retail, those words should seem ominous. That one day in which hundreds of people storm into the various stores across the nation, and will even brawl one another, just to get a great deal on…….. a toaster. Seriously?
Sadly, I am being quite serious. I was at a Walmart a couple years ago, getting some bread, and watched two people get into a full brawl over a Playstation 3. Not only was it on sale, but it was a bundle pack containing the game “Rachet & Clank: All Four One”. I wasn’t part of this brawl (thankfully) and actually ended up buying the same bundle pack for nearly $100 less at another store a few weeks later. Some sales really aren’t much of a bargain.
What is really awful is that many of those who get into these fights, they identify as Christians. Yes, you read that right, Christians. Sadly, many are also of the type that say “I don’t need church, I can worship “god” in nature”, or “Religion is a man in church thinking about fishing, relationship is man fishing while thinking about “god””. Some will even go so far as to say “I’m not religious, just spiritual”, or “Churches are full of hypocrites, and I don’t want to be thought of as one of them”. Mysticism and hypocrisy. Sad.
Small wonder our churches are nearly empty most Sundays. Unless you are a mega-church with a consumer guilt driven emotional message of self affirmation, not many are going to show up. Churches that call sin for what it is aren’t very popular these days. Churches that affirm you can choose salvation, and preach a feel good message of abundance in this life are popular.
Let me make something clear. You can not choose salvation. The Bible is explicitly, salvation is a free gift from God. You can not choose a gift, only what you do with it. Any church that preaches you can be saved by making a choice is lying to you, and assisting you in becoming your source of salvation, and thus damning you to Hell.
Additionally, God never promised any of us an easy life. In fact, Christ Jesus affirmed that in this life, we’d have trials and tribulations. Life of ease? Forget it. Not promised. Besides, a life ease only makes one lazy, and a lazy Christian is unproductive.
I suppose my point is simple. If you haven’t figured it out already, then I will say it. If you can show up the night before for a Black Friday service, but can’t show up for church to hear about how you are a sinner in need of a Savior, you probably aren’t a Christian. Yes, circumstances exist which prevent some attending church, but those are not nearly as widespread as it may seem. Many churches do offer midweek and evening services. Also, many companies are closing their doors on Black Friday, major holidays, and Sundays, just so employees can attend worship services, or be with family. Thus, there really isn’t much room for excuses (Police, Fire, and Aid personel, I understand and salute you. Thanks).
The church is a place to bring the hypocrite face to face with their sin and need for a savior. Black Friday is a farce that just brings out the worst in people, regardless of profession of faith or non-faith. We all need the church, none of us needs Black Friday. We all need to hear of God’s grace and mercy, of his forgiveness. None of need to hear of a massive sale “coming soon” on junk that we really don’t need, regardless of how nice it looks and how it makes us feel….for the moment.
Really want to profess your faith as a Christian. Skip the Black Friday sales, and just show up to church on Sunday. If you can afford $500 on an X-Box 360-V5 during a Black Friday sale, you can give $5 to the church offering on a Sunday. By the way, $500 is equal to tithing $5 a week for just under two years, and your money won’t (hopefully) be lining the pockets of a greedy corporate exec someplace.
You won’t find God in nature. You won’t show a positive Christian witness in a Black Friday sale. God can only be found in his revealed word, the Holy Bible. Your best witness to your faith is by attending church and hearing that word regularly, along with the announcement that your sins are forgiven.
Coming Soon……Christ the King!