Relate not Retail

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“About sixty dollars.” A quick mental calculation on the items in my shopping basket promised to keep me within budget. But the sampling stations were relentless. Everything I tasted was another enticement. Early Christmas advertising and the promise of an early winter drew me closer. Every aisle suggested my clothing, furniture, gadgets and gismos were outdated and outmoded. The internal conversations started. “I need a new coat. And boots.” The reasoning. “It’s a good deal now! It will be all sold out by the time I come back.” The bargaining. “I could use my credit card and pay off the amount with the next pay check.”

I could feel the pressure of advertising bearing down.

A multi-billion dollar retail-advertising budget is no friend of mine, nor yours. It emphasizes lack not gratitude. From towering digital billboards to pop-up ads on our phones and tablets, they will convince us that we need more—Today. Now.

Wisdom scripture offers a counter perspective on spending: “Better is little with the fear of the Lord…(Proverbs 15:16).” A deeper understanding of God has greater benefits than material things. Another passage says, “Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred (Proverbs 15:17).” Do you notice the emphasis in these two passages? Relationships are better! — With God and others! Not things. Not food.

As we approach this Thanksgiving season, let us shift the focus from retail to relationships. Let us be filled with gratitude for a loving and faithful Creator and Provider. Let us thank Him for the wonderful connections He has given us with family and friends.

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