Remember growing up with the Sears Christmas Wish Book? I do. Flipping through pages filled with toys and gift ideas delighted kids of all ages as they marked their favorite items, hoping mom and dad noticed in time for Christmas. What did you wish for?
Beginning in 1886, 22-year-olds Richard Sears and Alveh Roebuck did more than wish for a brighter future when they started a retail business that sold, well, anything. Whatever you wanted, watches, clothes, furniture, chances were that Sears, Roebuck, and Co., could deliver it to your door. In fact, they could deliver the door, too, attached to the pre-fabricated house you purchased out of the catalogue! The business seemed to peak in 1969, ironically as it built what was then the “largest skyscraper in the world” in Chicago.
Diversifying into other product lines from brokerage, insurance, and pre-internet services failed to improve the company’s health, and by the 1990’s, Walmart, and later internet companies like Amazon, made the Sears and the Christmas Wish Book obsolete. Desperate attempts to stay afloat couldn’t save the struggling retailer, which listed $6.9 billion in assets and $11.3 billion in liabilities. An economist explained the retailer’s demise: “Sears and Kmart simply trudged along and thought that was good enough.” Good enough is rarely good enough, and on October 15, the Sears Holdings Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after 132 years in business. While sad, there’s more for us to learn from the wish book story.
What do you want? Jesus asked this question of his good friends, James and John, and you wouldn’t have guessed what was on their wish list! This Sunday, let’s get our wish lists out for Jesus to examine. We will also take a look at Job’s wish list, too, and we’ll discover that God delivered more than Job bargained for!