It's Black Friday for shoppers across this great land. And though "black" tends to be suggestive of some ominous forces at work, it actually references when merchants can go from "being in the red" from slow economic times, to finishing the year "in the black."
The day after Thanksgiving.
The day of Thanksgiving, has been hard for me to celebrate in the traditional sense for many years. For the past four years I am just returning from India. A land of great poverty and darkness. Before that I was returning from or going into some third world, and feasting just didn't feel appropriate.
Don't get out your pedestals, the first thing I do on my way home from the airport is stop at a Mexican restaurant and indulge in unlimited chips and hot sauce, a plate full of enchiladas, rice and beans. I miss Tex-Mex!
Today is the day when the stores break down and slash prices on certain items (while supplies last). This tactic is meant to lure you into their web of coveting all the things you don't really need, but it is such a great bargain, how can you pass it up?
If the church were as focused on the great commission as shoppers are to "the day after Thanksgiving Day" sales - the world would be a different place.
Each year the proverbial sales start earlier and earlier. Last night the news featured coverage of devotees camped out in front of department stores like Toys 'r Us, Macy's and Best Buy. Those stores opened at 4:00am. This morning at
7:30 reports weren't on traffic problems but on the fact that shopping mall parking lots were already 90% full. You've got to start early to get the deals.
Jesus told His disciples the Harvest was ripe, pray to the Lord of the Harvest for more workers. He was telling them, and us, of the sales! Snap up the bargains! Run to get involved. Rise early to secure yourself a parking space and get out there. People are just waiting to hear the Name proclaimed. The Good News that you got THE bargain of a lifetime. Someone has paid your debt! You are debt-free in the eyes of the Creator.
I am filled with Thanksgiving.
Our team returned from India four days before the feast with so much to be thankful for. All our luggage arrived. The programs were full of seekers in spite of horrible weather conditions. We had safe transportation even with the wind and rain of a tropical depression bearing down on us. We stayed free of sickness though flood waters brought every unsanitary situation in to surround us - even in my hotel room! We saw hearts turn toward the one true Living God. We touched and danced with lepers. We celebrated the value of the orphans. We walked in the filth of gypsy slum communities and saw the beauty of their soul as they proclaimed the name of Jesus. We witnessed captives to 330 million gods set free. We saw the blind given the sight of heaven through God's promise. We were the first Christians to present a program at the school for the blind and disabled in its 150 year history! We boarded the plane confident we had completed the task we had been sent forth to participate in. Close to 1500 people had been ministered to, and heard the Name of Jesus glorified above all names.
When the disciples returned to Jesus (after having been sent out into the Harvest Field) they reported such great things. I'm sure like some of the things I am reporting to you. But Jesus didn't seem too interested in what they had accomplished; the healings, the demons being cast out, or even the message of salvation being shared. He cared about them fully understanding what He meant to THEM personally. "All the same, the great triumph is not your authority over evil, but in God's authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you - that's the agenda for rejoicing." Luke 10:20 The Message
I want to care as much about seeing the lost of the world come into the Kingdom as I do about those perishable treasures with prices slashed for the day.
I don't want to sweat about things to list I am thankful for when it comes my turn at the holiday table. I want to keep the main thing the main thing.
I am thankful my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
God has His eye on us. God has His eye on each of the thousands of people I meet and touch in His name. He has not forgotten one of them, though the smiles of the caramel skinned Indian children, will soon turn to the dark chocolate smiles of African children for me (December 17-28 Ghana, West Africa).
My hope on this "black" day - is that we would see the harvest "white" and realize what a bargain we received. My prayer is that we would see our assignment. We would store up the imperishable things, things that will last - give the knowledge of the gift of salvation. These are what the Master remembers.
So should we.
"...you trust Him with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you'll get what you're looking forward to: total salvation." 1 Peter 1:8 The Message
Thankful of the bargain
Mindful of the price He paid
Remember your year end giving!
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