“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.”
I worked in retail for almost 6 years, and I experienced one Black Friday and 5 Grey Thursday’s. I often ate Thanksgiving dinner with co-workers rather than those I called family. We celebrated Thanksgiving earlier in the day as I had to prepare for the long night that would carry on into the wee hours of the morning. Our stock of merchandise would come in months prior to the big day and the big televisions and hottest toys would be stored for the big day. As a kid, I looked forward to shopping on this day, but as an adult who had to work at this time, I loathed it and could not wait for 4th quarter to come to an end.
The doors would be set to open around 6:00pm on Thanksgiving night and the staff would be strategically placed in anticipation of the onslaught of guests who would enter the store. There were pallets of merchandise in the back, and we had organized products backups for hot items that we knew would run out of. We had a map of where the hot products would be staged and the greatly anticipated flat panel televisions lined the entrance to the store. As I would pull into the parking lot around 4pm, I would see the line snake around to the side of the building as people jockeyed for prime line position. I would recall thinking back to the ad and not seeing anything in there that would require me to spend Thanksgiving with total strangers who would elbow me in the face later just to get a coveted five-dollar DVD.
We had security throughout the store, and we also had off duty police officers who were at the front door and in the electronics section. There was a bit of excitement in the air as the doors began to open, and I oft imagined the Red Sea pouring in as the waters crashed in on the Egyptians. The people would pour in and they would flood to the televisions. People would push, shove, argue, and get angry to get what they wanted. Although there was a limit of one per family, the people who were holding hands in line mysteriously did not know one another. The turkey had not yet been digested but people seemed to forgot the purpose of the holiday in the first place. The spirit of thankfulness was exchanged for greed and the words of thankfulness were replaced with, “get out of the way.”
It is crazy how soon we forget all the benefits that our good God has given us. We pray for a job when we are unemployed and then we complain that we have too much work when He provides us one. We ask for our daily bread and then complain when the meal is lemon chicken. We pray for a spouse and then complain when God gives us one because of a disagreement or two. We ask for patience and then complain through the trials God allows in our lives. These scenarios remind me of those who moments earlier in the day where thankful for family and provision but then grew angry when the television they waited two hours for is sold out. We are such a feeble and ungrateful people who forget the goodness of our God. We forget that all good and perfect gifts come from above. God is the source of all that is good and shame on us for being quick to complain and slow to be thankful.
Have you forgotten the goodness of your God? Do you thank Him for all the things He has does for you on a moment-to-moment basis? Have you allowed your wish list to exceed your what I am thankful for list? May we not allow Black Friday to take away from our gratitude to our God, and may we not so easily forget the goodness of our God. Our thankfulness should not be limited to one day in the year, but we should have praise always on our lips. Psalms 103:1 states, "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name." Amen and amen!
Stay in the fight!