Further thoughts on Luke 12; Click Here to Read This Week’s Gospel: Luke 12:16-2
I started this week with an intention to be thankful for what I have been given in this life. No, not the stuff (but, yes that too), but the real gifts: family, freedom, shelter, food, and of course, love. Thanks to meditating on Jesus’ parable about the Rich Fool in Luke 12, I have managed to be more thankful than usual. In my meditating, I also started wondering how much and how soon all this bounty we enjoy in America might go away, if we stay on our present political course. Let’s face it, for all the slams capitalism has received by the current Administration, it is what built our freedom and plenty. That, coupled with an understanding it all happened by God’s grace (which as a nation we have totally taken for granted) brought me to a place of anger this day after Thanksgiving.
Why am I angry? Because like the fool in the parable, we ought to know better. Just like the fact that no communist/socialist economy in the world has ever produced the kind of success in science and industry capitalism has in the West, so too no other Western nation has ever produced the freedom the United States has. And, what have we done with our freedom? If the advertisements on Thanksgiving week TV are any indication we’ve used them to further fuel greed in the masses.
I spent over 18 years in the retail industry in my young working career (before entering the ordained ministry). I worked every day after Thanksgiving; it was always the biggest shopping day of the year. BUT…our store didn’t open till 8AM, AND there were no mobs beating down the doors to get inside. No one was trampling over their fellow man to grab a supposedly incredible deal item out of the hands of another. There was almost something beautiful about it. Were the retailers greedy? Sure. But they were sane about how they went about it.
Where does the madness end? Now retailers can’t even wait until Friday. Many big box stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day! Pretty soon there won’t be a Thanksgiving Day because no one will have time to cook; they’ll all be out shopping for early “Black Thursday” deals. And, then it will be Black Wednesday, Tuesday and so on. Get the picture? Like the fool in the parable, greed has taken over our thankfulness.
Where does all the madness end? I guess, when like in the parable, God says to us all, “You fool, this night your soul will be required of you.” I pray we don’t get to that point. I pray we wake up and take time to smell the coffee on Friday morning. Then, relax and enjoy a second cup as we reflect on the wonderful time we had on Thursday with our families. I did. And, that’s what I plan to do next year, and the year after that, and so on and so on, unless and until the Lord puts a stop to the madness one way or another.
It doesn’t have to come to that, you know.We can put a stop to the madness. Next year, you can refuse to go out and shop on Thanksgiving Day. Just stay home, relax and enjoy your family. There will always be another deal.