Contemporary English Version (CEV)
On this Black Friday, people will storm malls and big box stores and websites the day after thinking about everything they have to be grateful for. Now, much of this is born out of a genuine desire to give during the upcoming holiday season, and some of it is a bonding event for friends and family. A good portion of it, however, is simply the desire for more. Someone sent me a Ted Talk the other day by Johann Hari -- he was talking about depression, but through the lens of how the world is distorting our appetites, and so the consumerism we're engaging in isn't actually meeting the needs we want or think it will, and so we keep buying, but don't find the satisfaction we're craving.
Clearly the Laodiceans had a similar predicament. They thought they were rich and successful and independent, and probably lived that way, perhaps turning to God whenever they ran up against a problem they couldn't solve. They hadn't completely turned from God, but they weren't turning completely towards God, either.
So the message here is for them to recognize their true needs, to realize that true and lasting hope can't be purchased, and to turn to participate in God's abundant economy. They were called to buy their gold from God, to discover the wealth of treasure in heaven, and only then will they see many of the world's empty promises for what they are.
I don't think it's wise to completely pull back from our economy. We're in this world, and we should participate in it -- but recognize that our truest needs, for hope and for love and for relationship, will never be met by something you can buy from a store.