Every week my in-box is greeted by a pastoral note from Dr. Jim Abernathy. Pastor Abernathy is the pastor of Westwood Baptist Church in Springfield, VA, where my “Aunt” Evelyn worships. The notes are always thought provoking and a delight to receive and the following is a good example. RMF
When is Black Friday Not Black Friday
by Dr. Jim Abernathy
One of the great conundrums of our day is this: When is Black Friday not Black Friday? The riddle, of course, is generated by the day, for this year, Black Friday actually began on Thursday. For years now, stores have started Black Friday sales at midnight on Friday, allowing their customers to at least have the semblance of decorum and appreciation for the Thanksgiving Day observances. This year, however, many stores opened by 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night, and I’m sure there were probably folks lined up outside their doors, waiting to get in. Some determined shoppers have been camping out at least a week in front of some electronics stores, wanting to be first in line to get the “buy of a lifetime”.
So, when is something not really what it is, and what effect does that have on our sense of integrity? One might argue that integrity has nothing to do with the Black Friday (Thursday) shopping experience. It seems that gift giving in that context has become more of a competitive event than an altruistic offering. I understand the pressures of the retail industry and the clamor to better, or at least keep pace with last year’s sales. But in a broader context, one could certainly argue that things aren’t always what they seem to be, and perhaps, we have simply accepted that as the norm for the world we live in. Honesty, integrity, dependability…are these virtues that still resonate with an ever rushing, ever distracted society?
Jesus, very simply stated a principle of integrity in Matthew’s gospel as he said, “Let your Yes be simply Yes, and your No be simply No.” (Matthew 5:37, Amplified) In essence, as the old colloquialism says, “let your word be your bond.” Our world would be better served if that timeless encouragement was fully embraced.
Now, this little epistle isn’t meant as condemnation on the ever-changing landscape of American consumerism, simply because retailers rearrange the clock and calendar. I do wonder, however, at times about the disconnect between what is promised and what is delivered. Simply stated, “yes” being “yes” and “no” being “no” sounds too good to be true, but our lives would be enhanced greatly by living this great truth.