Does Celebrating Black Friday and Cyber Monday Exercise the Sin of Greed?
- Aaron Brown Crosswalk Contributing Author
- 2021 11 Nov
America is a capitalistic nation. This means the country’s economy is mostly run by private individuals who call the shots regarding what’s produced and where those things are sold. History has shown capitalism is great for people wanting to escape poverty. With the right skills, a free market, and the ability to start a business, anyone has the ability to make a living. While this may be true, history has also shown that where money is involved, sin is likely to follow.
Capitalism can work wonders for the community, but mankind is sinful. What is good can also be used for bad. Imagine an old-timey cartoon where the character has just come up with a scheme to make money. Dollar signs appear in his eyes, comically replacing what was once pupils. Such an image is funny, but in reality, the image is a reflection of us.
Sometimes we create our own plans for making money, though our methods are not always moral. Likewise, we spend money, sometimes indulging in things we don’t need. Money as an object is neither good nor bad. How we use currency speaks to our heart’s orientation.
That brings us to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two days America celebrates after Thanksgiving. These days are not a celebration of God or other people, but rather consumerism. Citizens are encouraged to spend, spend, spend. Advertisements target buyers with “the best deals” and “the latest” and “hottest” goods.
As Christians living in America, at the very least, we have no choice but to witness the consumer craze. Often though, we do more than witness. We partake and risk getting swept away with all the sales. However, we do have a choice about whether we participate and how. Should we or should we run away and hide?
The answer isn’t black and white, but by understanding the concept of greed, we can come up with a plausible explanation. So let’s ask the question, are Black Friday and Cyber Monday exercising the sin of greed?
Are these days exercising the sin of greed?
Let’s first try to understand the word greed. Similar to words like lust, Christians tend to associate the word with strong connotations. For example, lust means uncontrolled desire, but most believers associate lust with sex. Yet, we could have an uncontrolled desire for work, acceptance, food, and other things. Likewise, we tend to associate greed with money, but greed is applicable to many things too - attention, food, power.
Dictionary.com defines greed as “excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.” We can then conclude greed is not simply hoarding money. If we hoard and accumulate any of our possessions we could be acting out of greed.
But is greed really that simple though? Are we sinning simply by being rich or having many possessions?
The Bible would seem to suggest the answer to that is no. Job is described as a great man with many possessions (Job 1:1-3). After he went through his season of loss, God blessed this man with even more than he had before. God didn’t bless Job with sin. Thus, we can have wealth without being greedy.
However, there are multiple passages in Scripture that negatively portray money. Job’s story is one of the few that do not. So what is our conclusion?
Only by looking at the Bible in its full context will we see that our orientation toward money determines whether or not we are greedy. In other words, our intention makes the difference. Job was a wealthy man with many servants, but he was also a decent man in God’s eyes. He must have used his money in ways that God approved. If we have money, are we using our expenses to please God? That’s the question to consider.
When Black Friday and Cyber Monday come around, whether we are the ones selling or buying, we need to be mindful of how we view money. Only then can we avoid exercising the sin of greed, but what exactly does that look like?
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How can we avoid exercising the sin of greed?
“Keep your life free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
We rely on money for plenty in life - college, bills, gas, groceries. Without money, we would not be able to live stable lives in society. Therefore, having money in our bank accounts and wallets undoubtedly brings us a sense of security. However, when money leads us to sin, is when we start seeking security in the physical and not the spiritual. God has assured us that He will always be with us. That’s a promise.
We reveal our doubt in that promise when we view money as the only means of stability. Money can bring stability, but so does God. Which of the two brings us more stability? If our answer is money, we will be more likely to hoard money for ourselves and find ways to make a buck, no matter what. That includes exploiting others, avoiding charity, and losing sight of God.
In the end, we always have to choose trust over fear. That means picking God over money. If God is the priority, as well as other people, we can rest assured, we’ve distanced ourselves from potential greed. And with greed behind us, we can find more godly ways to celebrate Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
4 Godly Ways to Celebrate Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Donate to Charity
While many of us can get excited about the latest gadgets to buy, not all people have that luxury. Instead of buying something for yourself, consider whether you can donate to a charity.
Volunteer Your Time
Black Friday and Cyber Monday don’t have to be days for big-spending at all. The time you would spend shopping could be put to use working for a volunteer organization. There are always people in need.
The mistake hoarders make is not getting rid of items they no longer use. Clear up some space in your home or apartment by getting rid of old clothing, books, games, the list goes on. As the saying goes, “one man’s loss is another man’s treasure.”
Buy a Gift for Someone
Most of the advertisements for Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be advertising for the individual - what can you buy for yourself. However, Scripture calls us to prioritize others. Instead of buying the coolest and latest for yourself, make a list of people in your circle you can give a gift to.
Time to Celebrate
Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be here before we know it. So will Christmas and the new year. Let’s not wait to figure out what we can do in celebration of others. God has not placed us on this Earth to worship ourselves. Jesus explained the two greatest commandments, loving God and loving others. These holidays are the perfect occasions to do just that!
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/oatawa
Aaron Brown is a freelance writer, hip-hop dance teacher, and visual artist, living in Virginia. He currently contributes work to iBelieve, Crosswalk, and supports various clients through the platform Upwork. He's an outside-the-box thinker with a penchant for challenging the status quo.