Points to Ponder: Two Days, Two Gods?
Points to Ponder
Two Days, Two Gods?
By Pastor Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer
"No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13)
Question: Why not?
Are we doing that today? Everything seems to be going along nicely.
Since "Black Friday," we've seen strong sales figures. The economy seems to be rebounding. Backing up Black Friday into Thanksgiving Day met with some protests; however, retailers and multitudes of shoppers proved that the sacred day is not Thursday - it's Friday.
We've known for years that the beginning - Day #1 - of the Christmas holiday season is the Friday after thanksgiving. And that is changing; so Thanksgiving Day will soon be the beginning of the season.
"You will hate the one and love the other." Hate, in the scriptural context, means to love less. The greater of the two masters will take a step down in your heart, as the lesser rises to prominence. It's the beginning of the Christmas season. The original term was "Christ Mass," signifying a worship day during which the Son of God's birth is celebrated. Christ Mass Day was a counter-cultural move by the church during the Roman Empire's celebration of the "birth of the sun." (Yes, Christmas is a Christianized Pagan holiday.)
So how do we celebrate the day when the Son of God was born; when the Creator of all things became Flesh (John 1:14) and dwelt among us? How do we honor and lift up this history-altering event? Shopping. Buying and selling. That makes sense. Right?
The "magic of Christmas" has nothing to do with the virgin-born Son of God who came to die for us and our salvation. The Santa story makes more sense and is more fun.
"You will be loyal to one and despise the other." Despise means to regard or think less of. As the Friday sales marathons are encroaching on Thanksgiving, the protestors who demanded that Thursday be kept sacred will fall away. Study the history of the Thanksgiving Day declarations made by Presidents all the way back to Washington. It was about prayer and reflection and giving of thanks to God, who gives us everything.
The idea of a sacred day was given by God in the weekly Sabbath, as well as other feast days. These all required that people cease from the usual daily activity of working, buying, and selling. Rest and be reflective and thankful to God. He warned in Deuteronomy that if we aren't intentional about remembering His goodness, the Source of our bounty, we will grow fat and full, and live as if we did it all ourselves. Then, decline soon follows....
"You cannot serve God and mammon." Why not? The Pharisees disagreed too. What's so wrong about shopping on Thanksgiving, or Sundays? What's the big deal? In itself, perhaps nothing. But what is compelling all of this? As the original sacred meaning of Thanksgiving fades from our national conscience (becoming yet another sales day), many will not be able to figure out what's missing.
Jesus said, "...God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God." (Luke 16:15)
The economists and business owners will smile on these days, congratulating themselves for their wise marketing decisions. And shoppers, with turkey in their stomachs and gift bags in their hands, will smile.
But is God smiling on all of this? Is something happening in our hearts?
How can this one nation under God, ignore God, and expect Him to not ignore us in return?
You really can't serve two masters. As the number of "shopping days before Christmas" ticks downward, watch how the truth of Jesus' words plays out.
Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring. Listen to Rev. Whitmore on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs at 10:45 a.m. & p.m. & Wed at 10:45 a.m. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.