Shop ‘Til We Drop?

Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will be also. –Matthew 6:21 (NLT)

Today, the day after Thanksgiving Day, is known as “Black Friday” and it marks the official start to another holiday shopping season.  As such, many of us will venture out to local malls, fighting the crowds to find the best deals as we work through our Christmas shopping lists.

Some time ago, I read a newspaper article that referred to the splendor of a shopping mall in this way: “… a pastor was so moved by the retail magnificence around, that he quoted Scripture, ‘Jesus said, I came that you may have life and have that life abundantly… and what do you suppose abundance means? This, of course!'”

I was troubled by the notion that somehow our access to consumer goods is directly related to our relationship with Jesus. Does the abundant life really mean that Jesus came to help us shop ’til we drop? I don’t think so! Try telling that to the millions of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who will regard themselves as blessed if they are able to eat a meal today; not to mention the millions in our own country who are simply trying to make ends meet.

Jesus did come to give us life to the full, but the abundant life He was referring to is spiritual in nature. It’s a life where God infuses us with His Spirit, molds us into the image of Christ and overflows to others who observe and can be influenced and blessed.

We ought not to confuse material blessing as a spiritual status symbol. For the Christ-follower, any prosperity we experience should always be seen as a means to an end–not the end in and of itself. Make no mistake, God expects us to use everything we have for His honor and His glory. Jesus said, “Much is required from those to whom much is given…” (Luke 12:48)

As you venture out to do your holiday shopping this season, take a moment to thank God for His blessings. While you are at it, be sure to guard yourself against an attitude that focuses on getting more for yourself, as opposed to using your material blessings to serve and bless others.

1. Read Matthew 6:19-21. How have you been tempted recently to store up “treasures on earth”?

2. What steps can you take to guard yourself from having a materialistic attitude?

2 Corinthians 2:14-15, 9:12; 1 Timothy 6:17-19

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Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, editor, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord Culture Blog also appears on Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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