Text of the Day for 11-24-2016

Each Tuesday and Thursday I do a short reflection on a Bible verse from a devotional and social justice perspective. You can sign up to get a prompt via SMS here: 
Text Of The Day

Today’s text is 1 Timothy 6:7-10:

for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 

But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

Tomorrow is Black Friday, when lots of retailers do most of their business of the year. We are told that it is almost a moral duty to go out and consume for the good of our economy. As much as we preachers complain about the materialism of Christmas, we haven’t done much to curtail the tradition! We have not demonstrated being content with the basics: food, clothing, shelter, water, and love. And so we’ve given ground to the real religion of our culture: the marketplace.

I’m going to encourage you to boycott Black Friday. Or, if you spend, spend in such a way that brings more justice into the world. Patronize local or minority-owned businesses. Give recycled or upcycled gifts. Choose to seek eternal values, rather than ones doomed to obsolescence.

Our culture tells us what success looks like: more, bigger, shinier, newer. But we take out of the world exactly what we brought into it: nothing. If we are to leave behind something other than trash, stuff that “moth and rust can consume” (Matthew 6:19-20), we have to build it ourselves out of the only resource that matters: people. We invest in people. We build relationships. The gifts of God are all around us as creative, loving, talented human beings.

Of course, gift-giving and sharing resources can be part of building relationships and communities. But this holiday season, let’s think about how we can be generous stewards not only of our money, but of all the resources around us. What kinds of gifts can we give to our community that will outlast us?