Click on the arrow below to listen to this story
According to my inbox, the worst week of the entire year has begun.
Over the next several days we will be bombarded with unrelenting messages attempting to separate us from our money. Hey, I’m all for free enterprise, but our priorities are very wrong.
First, we must endure the “pre-Black Friday” sales and the onslaught of emails announcing them.
The messages stop for a few glorious hours on Thursday so that we can “celebrate” Thanksgiving and be reminded of the plethora of material possessions we already have that we don’t really need and don’t use.
Then, we contend with actual Black Friday sales, which start as early as noon on Thanksgiving and continue through Black Weekend.
Those sales are interrupted with Small Business Saturday during which people are strongly encouraged to support local businesses rather than big box chain stores.
(As an aside, if there was ever a need to support local businesses, it is this year. They have been hanging on by a thread for most of 2020 and the latest rounds of government antics surrounding COVID threaten to push the firms completely out of business.)
Next comes Cyber Monday sales for people who spend their work hours shopping via their companies’ high-speed internet connections. I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2020 with everyone working from home.
Finally, the most materialistic week of the American year comes to an exhausting close with Giving Tuesday. On that day, we are supposed to donate any money we have left over after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday to support those who are less fortunate.
However, after we spend thousands of dollars – often going in to debt to do so – to buy more “stuff,” it will be surprising how little we have left to donate to non-profit organizations, which have also endured a brutal year of trying to serve others despite endless, ever-changing government restrictions.
What would happen if we reversed the process?
This year, what if we donated thousands of dollars to help others and spent a few hundred bucks on trinkets to give away as gifts in preparation for next summer’s garage sales?
- Kids would have enough to eat, not just on Christmas.
- Caregivers would actually receive a refreshing break from their 24/7 responsibilities.
- Single mom’s would be able to get their essential cars fixed.
- More women could choose life over terminating a pregnancy.
- Abused women and kids would have a safe place to live and rebuild their lives.
- Out-of-work people might have enough money to cover December’s rent.
- People could get the help they need to overcome soul-crushing addictions.
- Seasoned citizens would be able to live independently for a few more months.
- More foster parents could be trained and licensed to give abandoned kids a loving home and an opportunity for a new start.
- Missionaries might have enough resources to bring clean water to communities, or help a poor family start a business to end their poverty.
- Grieving parents who lost a child this year could get the help they need to begin the long road to recovery.
- Animal shelters might be able to care for unwanted pets for a few more days until they find forever homes.
- Life-giving gospel counseling could save someone from suicide, depression or hopelessness and serve as a springboard to a better future.
Just imagine, our donations of money or time could lead to a blessing that others have been desperately praying to receive.
After enduring this hideous year, let’s make it a positive memory with Thanks-for-giving Thursday.