As you read this blog, please listen to a song my brother Brad introduced to me a few weeks ago. The song is entitled All (#7) on the album Arrabon above. If you do listen to it, it is important to listen to the whole thing.
Did you listen to it? If you are a Christian, did you feel the power of the phrases:
“Nothing without You.”
“You are all.”
“Everything I need in You.”
“Nothing in this world can satisfy me, Lord... because You are all.”
Black Friday trumped Thanksgiving Day. In a sense, this is a snapshot of our brokenness. I am not here to make those who shopped this past weekend guilty. My point is to use Black Friday’s encroaching onto Thanksgiving as an analogy of the way humanity defines itself as opposed to the way God defines us in Christ. The Christian’s primary identity is son and daughter. Christians are placed into an eternal family. We are adopted and full inheritors of God’s goodness and grace.
We are not consumers. We were not created to consume. We are not targets for marketers. Our identity is not in what we purchase, but in the one who purchased us.
Christians are sons and daughters purchased by the blood of the Lamb. Nothing we purchase can fill or fulfill. Nothing we buy can fix the internal battle of dissatisfaction with our current state of affairs. Black Friday feeds humanity’s dark side. Black Friday reveals our brokenness and thanklessness. Black Friday has become the gateway of Christmas. Somehow the gift of God’s Son has been replaced by the gifts of stuff. Somehow the season of Thanksgiving has been replaced by the buying of stuff. Black Friday’s greatest temptation is to live out our thanksgiving by buying more stuff. Culture’s marriage of Thanksgiving and Black Friday gives us a false sense of Thanksgiving. It’s not a thanksgiving of what was and is, but what I can do tomorrow (or tonight) at my store of choice. Humanity has the insatiable desire to accumulate the easy and cheap. The Gospel, however, was difficult and expensive. It cost the life of God’s only Son. That sacrifice suffices. That sacrifice fills and fulfills.
So the Bible presents to us an alternative message. Christ gave it all, so we can have it all. Resurrecting Thanksgiving to it’s rightful place of solidarity this week is so important. Tis the season for thanks to God and for His provision. Tis the season for thanks to God for His Son. Tis the seasons of grace! Not one action on our part enhances or confirms grace. Grace is what happens to us. Grace tells us that we don’t add an ounce to our salvation. Jesus did it all. Thanksliving allows us to live lives of gratitude for what was. It rests in the fact that we cannot add a single thing to salvation. It’s a gift that solves it all. All problems. All depression. All sin. All brokenness. All fear. All displeasure in one’s appearance. All pride. All injustice. Grace dubs us a daughter of Christ. Grace dubs us a son of Christ. To quote the lyrics of All, God is full of grace. He is all we need. He is ever present. Ever faithful. Ever true. God is all!
This week we cry out, You are everything we need. Everything. Everything. Everything.
This countercultural message is the old, old story. It reminds us who we are in Christ, what Christ has done for us, and what we were saved for.
I’ll end with words from Ephesians 2 as a way to remind us to live in thanks for what God has done for us in Jesus Christ:
Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.