Every year for the past twenty, I have managed to avoid the chaos of being in the public marketplace on Black Friday. Most years, in fact, I have spent the biggest shopping day of the calendar year on the family farm away from the craziness of it all. The morning is spent in the deer woods, the afternoon hanging out with my wife and kids, and the evening around the fire with extended family. It is a refreshingly slow day—not exactly the way most of us spend the day after one where we give thanks for all that we already have. America is a nation of consumers, and this is never on display more than on Black Friday. It seems that each installment of this event comes with stories of grown-ups fighting at the entrances of Wal-Mart stores and shopping malls all over the country, just to be first in line to get the best deal on a tech gadget that will be outdated and laughed at by the next time this day rolls around.
There is no doubt that we live in a consumer-driven society and we often take that mindset into the church. We show up on Sunday, receive what is offered, maybe give our thoughts and opinions to our lunch company, then relax or recreate the afternoon away in preparation for the work week. Most of us would have to admit that we simply do not prepare to receive the Word of God before we arrive, and we do not reflect after we leave. We have allowed the mindset of a consumer to hijack every aspect of our lives.
This year, would you consider giving the gift of camp to a student who otherwise may not be able to go? One of the great rewards of serving at SWO is working with youth pastors and leaders who are in the trenches daily laboring over the lives of young people and their families. Most of these guys work on a shoestring budget and must find creative ways to fundraise for kids whose families cannot or will not pay to send them to camp. We keep costs at SWO as low as possible, but it is simply out of reach for so many that would love to come. We love to give stuff away, and we especially love to give away free spots at camp as a resource to student pastors and parents who know the Gospel-impact that a kid will receive.
Would you pray about giving to help a teenager get to camp? If you can’t pay for a full scholarship, maybe you could donate a portion. It will legitimately change a kid’s life, and give a youth pastor the boost that he needs to get his kids to camp.
Let’s move beyond consumerism this Christmas, and invest in the Gospel impacting lives in this generation.