A reflection on #BlackFriday

Over the next 24 hours, if reports are to be believed, people in the United Kingdom will spend the best part of two billion pounds. How should Christians think about and respond to Black Friday?

A lesson in history

Many will know that we’ve inherited ‘Black Friday’ from the USA. The phrase was first used in a negative way by the Philadelphia police in the 1960s, as they reflected on the mayhem caused by the masses going shopping in the city centre on the two days after Thanksgiving.

Initially, the major issue was dealing with the sheer volume of traffic that overwhelmed the streets. It’s easy to imagine the frustration and anger that ensued from motorists as they couldn’t get where they wanted to go (all to a rousing chorus of ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ followed by ‘I need a wee’, and perhaps some other choice words).

In more recent times, Black Friday has developed darker overtones, with violence and looting commonplace, including the occasional fight over a discounted television in a supermarket.

Whether in the 1960s or today, the underlying theme of Black Friday is that when people get in the way of each other, or people can’t get what they want, there’s a cycle of frustration which leads to anger which leads to violence.

To consider and pray about

How do you respond when you don’t get what you want, or when other people get in your way? Does your heart gravitate towards frustration and anger or patience and love?

Traffic jam

Whose money is it anyway?

The message of the Black Friday marketers is that, provided you can pay for it (or get credit for it), it’s your money and you can do what you want with it. They don’t care about whether it’s a wise purchase, whether the money could be put to better use or even if the person who made it was paid fairly.

The Bible paints a refreshingly different picture.

Adam and Eve were appointed as stewards their role was to look after all that God had given them and use it wisely.

The book of Proverbs shows that how we earn, invest and give our money matters to God.

To those who think their religious duty is fulfilled by just a tithe, and the rest of our wealth and lives doesn't matter to God, Jesus' words give us pause:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness.
Matthew 23:23 (NIV)

To consider and pray about

How do you think about the money in your bank account – whose is it? How does this show?

Do you tend to ask 'how much of my money do I have to give?' rather than 'how much of God's money do I get to keep'?

Two final suggestions

Spend time thinking about your giving

  • ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Write down how much you give per month. Are you glad to be giving that amount of money? Do you feel it is generous? If you’re not cheerful about it, try to understand why. Would you feel differently if you gave that money to another cause?
  • Could you give more? Would you dare to talk to someone in your church, a family member or friend about your giving and share how you feel and think about it?

Consider joining in with #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday encourages people to give to charity on the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

If you can give cheerfully to BRF, we would love to have your support. Give a one-off or regular donation online now.

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