Today, we would like to introduce you to our friend Emily Gehman. She has written a powerful and thought provoking guest post today! Tell her what you think and share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Want Freedom From Want? Thank God Today
by Emily Gehman
A few years ago, my brother gifted our parents with a painting by Norman Rockwell called “Freedom From Want.” It depicts a family sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner: Dad stands as Mom presents the perfectly golden turkey; brothers and sisters laugh; aunts and uncles chatter across the table while one family member glances back toward the viewer contentedly.
“Freedom From Want” hangs on our wall now, reminding us we truly have no real wants.
But I find it interesting, ironic perhaps, and a little sickening at how quickly we forget our true freedom from want. Sometimes I wonder if we are not entirely free from it but in bondage to it.
The Want Paradox
I’m not a fan of Black Friday, and I won’t rant for too long here, but I can’t help but notice the juxtaposition of Thanksgiving with Black Friday. I don’t think it’s a coincidence the day after we’ve committed to thankfulness for all we have, we go out to get more stuff. And we want these things so much we are willing to literally walk on top of another human being to get it. Seriously. People have been trampled in Black Friday crowds because we just have to have that one thing that we probably already have two of.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not entirely against Black Friday; I know there are some amazing deals out there, and I know a lot of people do most, if not all, of their Christmas shopping this one day of the year. I get it, I do. I love deals just as much as the next girl. But I wonder if, while we are actually free from want as in there’s nothing we really are in want of, we are in bondage to the greedy kind of want?
But just ranting about Black Friday isn’t doing any good. How do we actually combat this bondage to greedy want? Sure, we could loudly declare a boycott of Black Friday, though I’m afraid we’re too far down the river to turn that ship around completely. Or we could do something more humanitarian, like cleaning out our closets and basements, boxing up stuff for Goodwill. That’s an okay idea, I suppose. But would it really diminish our greedy want? Or would we bend the cardboard lids closed woefully, all the while planning exactly how we’re going to replace all the stuff we’re giving away?
It’s not Black Friday I’m against. It’s the spirit of Black Friday in our hearts—in my heart—that worries me.
Curing the Black Friday of our Hearts
So what should we do? The answer is easier than we think. Yep, I’m going all Occam’s Razor on you here. The concept of Occam’s Razor is this: the simplest answer is usually the best one.
Ready? Here it is:
Thank God Today.
Perhaps the best way to break the crazy-eyed want/greed/self-indulging spirit of Black Friday is to simply be thankful. Radical, I know. But seriously. Be thankful. And not just on Thanksgiving. But everyday in everything. This is actually what God calls us to do:
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Yes, this is absolutely easier said than done. Totally. Especially every Thursday morning when the paper is heavy, filled with ads and sales and coupons for the weekend. And when you’re just going to “window shop” at the mall with the girls. Or when you know that super cute handbag is just a click away on your computer. Yep, freedom from want is definitely easier said than done.
But what if we just decided to be content? To be thankful for what we have—the abundance of our lives and all gifts, material and immaterial, God has given us? To truly be free from want?
Thank God today. And tomorrow. And the next day and the next day and the next day…until we erase the greed and want of the Black Friday of our hearts. Of my heart. Of your heart. Every. Single. Day.
As our family sits down to Thanksgiving dinner each year, with Rockwell’s familial painting behind us on the wall, we’re reminded of our true Freedom From Want. We recognize individually and collectively that everything we need and really want is right there at the table: Jesus, for His salvation is eternal and His presence is unceasing; family, the ones given to us to love and be loved by; and the provision (and pleasure) of food—especially dessert—to be enjoyed together as a family in our home. Thank God.
Want Freedom From Want? Thank God today.
Share something you are thankful in the comments below. We want to rejoice with you.
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