Thanksgiving Bingo

Jesus said, “God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:17

To be honest, this week feels a little like playing Bingo. Thanksgiving yesterday, Black Friday today, Small Business Saturday tomorrow, then Sunday (free space), Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. Start out with some gratitude, turkey, and watching the Detroit Lions lose, then work your way through buying stuff at big stores, little stores, (quick: free space), and online stores. Once you finish that, you’re ready to be reminded of the charitable organizations doing good work in your community, country, and around the world, so check your wallet to see if there is anything leftover.

All of this, it seems, is done in the name of “saving.” We can save hundreds or thousands of dollars on stuff we want or need if we get it at the right store at the right moment. It all depends on how diligently a would-be saver peruses the ads, plans the shopping, and executes the purchasing. And, of course, it depends on getting there first, or at least before the size and style you need runs out. It’s also worth pointing out that in order to “save” on these great deals, a shopper must first be willing to spend something. It’s an exchange, not a gift.

Jesus, you know, is also very interested in saving, though not the same sort of saving Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday offer. Jesus is about saving us from sin– in other words, saving us from ourselves. This saving does not depend on how well we plan or act. This saving does not depend on getting there first. This saving does not require us to spend or trade or bargain to get it. It’s free. It’s a gift.

Jesus saves us from everything that tries to separate us from God. More often than not, this means Jesus is busy saving us from our own selfishness, pride, anger, loneliness, self-hate, negligence, indifference, grudges, or obsessions. All this is done by Jesus not because we deserve it or can pay for it, but out of pure love for us. It’s a kind of saving that happens day in and day out, not just on one weekend in November. It’s a kind of saving that lasts. (Unlike the cheap hand mixer I bought a few years ago and had to replace within six months.) It’s a kind of saving we can never pay for, but don’t worry: Jesus isn’t waiting for payment. This saving already took place on your behalf when Jesus died and rose so many centuries ago.

Dear Jesus, thank you for saving me. Thank you for giving me this gift so freely. Turn me away from sin and toward you. I know you love me, and I love you, too. Amen.

 

By Pastor Beth Wartick

Trinity Lutheran Church

Tipton, IA

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