Cipriano Martinez | @ciprianom79
Moving into cooler weather and trees changing colors, fall seems to be receiving a warm welcome from many. And as the month of November comes round we begin to hear words such as thanks, gratitude, giving, holidays and such. Yesterday we celebrated the official day of Thanksgiving for the 152nd time since President Lincoln named it “a day to give thanks.” Our first president George Washington in 1789 had in fact called for an official celebratory “day of public thanksgiving and prayer,” but at that time, it did not become an annual event.
Okay that’s enough history for now.
I’m sure many of you have heard sermons preached this month on “being thankful”. But as you were gathered together yesterday with your many loved ones, were you truly indeed thankful or were your minds focused on all the ”stuff” you could get on sale in the upcoming hours.
It’s no secret that today is Black Friday, and honestly, the way things are now, many might have thought yesterday was the start of Black Friday. Whatever you want to call it, all I know is that marketing has done a great job on getting our minds off the true meaning of being thankful and pushing our focus on “stuff.”
It makes me wonder if after listening to those many sermons on gratitude, are we really a people that are thankful? Or, after reading all those blogs and social media posts on Thanksgiving, are we really a people full of gratitude?
Now I’m not opposed to the whole Black Friday thing. As a matter of fact, I think it is a great time to save money and get great deals. But I think our focus has been switched too quickly from being thankful to being ungrateful to the little things we have.
A few years back a basketball goal was on sale for $99.00 and my wife and I thought it would be a great Christmas gift for the kids. So I woke up at 3 O’clock in the morning and took my chances for the very first time. I made it out in one piece but as I watched all these people screaming and fighting for a $40 plastic toy kitchen set, I made it a point that I would never take a chance with the crowds again. Those same people that were screaming and fighting, I’m sure, were thankful for all they had just hours earlier.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Colossians 3:15-17 MSG
My encouragement to you today is that you keep the true meaning of this time of year. Instead of being focused on the “stuff” you might get a great deal on. Direct your focus on all the great people God has put in your life and spend that time with them. You might be saving a few bucks, but sacrificing growth in your relationships and your spiritual life.
Cipriano Martinez is the ministry leader of Celebrate Recovery at Highland Baptist Church in Clovis, NM, as well as the CR State Representative of Eastern New Mexico and West Texas. He is blessed to be clean and sober for 9 years and counting. He is happily married and has 5 kids ranging from high school to diapers. He enjoys sharing his life with others, golf, and spending time with his family, and also feels a strong calling to vocational ministry. You can contact him via twitter @ciprianom79.