Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Saturday, November 24, 2012

I’m always perplexed by the Shopping frenzy of “black Friday.” I find it ironic that people would battle each other in stores on the greatest display of consumerism the day immediately after Thanksgiving. The picture of people pushing each other and arguing over desired items makes me vexed because I know many of these shoppers are buying things they don’t need, and in some cases things they can’t really afford.

 In the midst of the most serious economic downturn since the great depression, one would assume that most people who are experiencing financial hardship would show better judgment in their spending practices so as not to put themselves in a financial hole. Yet the stores expect an increase in the number of shoppers and the amount they will make during the busiest shopping season. The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday sales will increase by 4.1%. As of late Friday, it has been reported that 5000 items are been sold per second. “Online shopping sales were up more than 17% from a year earlier on Thanksgiving Day, according to IBM. And Black Friday online sales rose 13% compared to last year. Consumers shopping from a mobile device reached of almost 30%.[1] Which begs the question, when are most Americans going to learn the lesson about responsible stewardship and money management. Judging from reported data, I seriously doubt this lesson will be learned anytime soon. According to a survey by, about 28% of Americans have no savings at all. A surprising 66% only have about five months in emergency savings. 

 The fact remains that most Americans easily succumb to the lust for material possession and are addicted to consumerism. They talk about being grateful for what they have, yet they cannot wait for Black Friday to acquire more material possessions. It is as if they’re trying to acquire meaning and purpose by the quantity of their possessions. They ensnare themselves into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge them into financial ruin. Through their craving, they’ve displayed the sins of greed and selfishness that have caused them to wander away from the holy gospel of truth and pierce themselves with many pangs (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

 That is precisely the reason why Jesus exhorts us to take care, and be on our guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions (Luke 12:15). Many of us have forgotten what it means to live a simple life. We want to supersize the number of our possessions even if it means less time to enjoy those possessions. We work ourselves to exhaustion, and expose ourselves to stress related diseases that undermine the quality of life we so desire to live.

A simple life does not mean a meaningless life. “A pretentious, showy life is an empty life;  a plain and simple life is a full life (Proverbs 13:7).” We must simplify our stressed-out, overly complex lives. We must choose those things that are needful, instead of simply doing what would feed our addiction to consumerism.

 Simplifying our lives doesn’t mean ignoring our responsibilities or live below our godly inheritance. It is possible to live a prosperous life in the fullness of God that is yet simple and godly. Those who struggle to find the balance between simplicity and prosperity should seek God’s direction under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They should resist the urge to find meaning in material possession and look to God who alone can give meaning.

[1] Hibah Yousuf, “Black Friday shoppers out in full force”@CNNMoneyInvest

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

Join the conversation:

comment responses


 Monthly Newsletter
 The Wednesday Word
 Rap Sessions