“Black Friday” got that name because, as the busiest shopping day of the year, it’s when many retailers finally get “into the black,” that is, the day that their business for the entire years finally makes a profit. Because Black Friday is considered the start of the Christmas shopping season, many retailers open early, some even at midnight Thursday, in order to attract as many customers as they can.
And the customers do come, by droves and in a mad, mad made rush to buy, buy, buy, and at the cheapest prices, too. It has become for many almost a religion, one so passionately held that people will follow it no matter the consequences.
For instance, on a Black Friday at a Walmart in New York a number of years ago, the crowds had been gathering all night, and by 3:30AM (the stores was to open at 5:00AM) the mob had become so large the police had to be summoned. By 4:55, before the police arrived, about 2,000 Walmart shoppers began banging on the sliding-glass double doors. The glass shattered and the eager minions of free market economics, credit cards crisp and shiny in their wallets and purses, barged in, trampling to death a store employee.
Even when it was announced that everyone had to leave due to the employee death, many refused, arguing that they had been waiting too long and weren’t going to leave until they bought what they had come for, and at bargain prices, too. The faithful were worshipping their god at the shrine of Walmart, and only the police could get them out.
Someone once said that we, as humans, must worship something. Money; wealth; these can easily be a god to everyone who isn’t careful. No wonder Jesus Himself had warned about “the deceitfulness of riches” (Mark 4:19).
Scripture never condemns money, or wealth, in and of itself. It’s when it becomes a god, when it causes us to compromise, to do wrong when we know what is right—that’s when it becomes a snare.
We mustn’t fool ourselves. None of us are immune to this false god. It constantly vies for not just our attention, but for our love, for our energy, and, if we are not careful—for our soul. As Jesus warned: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).