No, it’s not meant as a biblical number that you should be aware of. It’s the number of emails I have accumulated over the last seven days. That doesn’t take into account the thousands that my email filters have already sent to my spam folder. This high volume includes hundreds of emails related to Black Friday sales, Black Friday extended sales, Cyber Monday sales, Cyber Monday extended sales, and special limited time only discounts on hundreds of items. Later today I will go through them and discard the 99% that I don’t even care to open, and I’ll find those precious few that interest me.
UNWANTED SOLICITATIONS! They sure can be annoying and just going them through wastes a lot of time. I can’t imagine how many trillions of emails we’ve all deleted in the past seven days. Why do these companies persist in bombarding us all with stuff we don’t really care about?
Because we do care! TechCrunch.com reported that Black Friday sales totaled $3.34 billion dollars. According to this same source, Black Friday sales were up 33% from last year. CNBC reported that 137.4 million Americans shopped on Black Friday. To put that into perspective, more than one out of every three people in this country were shopping. Amazon was and is processing thousands of orders per second! Target reports it sold 3,200 TVs per minute!
If you already have all of those things that marketers are bombarding your mailbox and blowing up your internet with, you’re probably more than a little annoyed by now. To you, the whole thing is out of control. To you, this is a colossal waste of time and money. You would never consider shopping and purchasing items this way.
But you do! You always have. Your medium might be the sales circulars in the newspaper, word of mouth from a friend, or an ad on the TV or radio instead of the seemingly more impersonal method of emails; but the fact that you have all those things is proof that ads work. Because you’re not buying doesn’t mean that others won’t buy.
Do you think God, who not only made our bodies but created our minds to think as they do, understands this passion to want things? Speaking from a negative perspective, isn’t it written somewhere that we are all enticed by the lust of the eye (1 Jn. 2:16)? From a positive perspective, isn’t marketing endorsed in the New Testament? John tells of men who were invited to follow Christ but who then went and found others and invited them to follow (Jn. 1). He tells of a woman who left her waterpot to go invite her whole town to come and see the One who told her all the things that she had done (Jn. 4:28-29). The gospels record the words of Christ as He commissioned His apostles to go into all the world (Mt. 28:19-20; Lk. 24:46-49). Mark’s account records the same instruction and includes the fact that they went from east to west with the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation (Mk. 16:15-20).
Does it sound reasonable to say that we don’t need to waste resources on trying to reach people because evangelism just doesn’t work anymore? Not only would that mind-set ensure that you would never be hired by the companies who spent massive sums to generate $3.34 billion in revenues, it also means that you would dismiss the power of the gospel.
But do those same consumers also want the gospel? Some do! Here are some local names to pray for: Shelby, Jake, Melissa, Josh, Heather, Ashley, and Rolando. Who are they? Local people who come to my house on Tuesday nights to study the Bible because, and only because, a Christian invited them to.
Who wants to stand before the throne on judgment day, side by side with CEOs of retail giants, and explain that we didn’t do more because there just wasn’t a market for the gospel in this nation?
Keep studying. DC Brown ©2016