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I Love Ice Cream Better Than Jesus?

Romans 10:13-15 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

I think all Christians would ‘amen’ this passage, and rightfully so! There is something amazing about seeing a person come to know Christ as their Saviour! I cannot help but notice though that the majority of Christians are more enthusiastic about verse 13 than they are the last 2. They desire for all men to be saved, but they do not desire to spend their time and money to do it!

I am not writing this to scold anyone. I am simply trying to challenge us to do our part as a Child of God to help SEND others (and ourselves) to “bring glad tidings of good things!”

I believe the biggest hindrance in American Christianity today is neither Satan nor False Religions. I believe this one word holds more Christians back than anything else: Materialism. Simply put: We are too in love with the world and its things to give our full attention to God’s things! We can’t sing “I love Jesus better than ice cream” because we spent more money last week on our belly than we did on His Work! We are more concerned with a new car payment than we are a new church planter. We are more enamored with self-care than we are supporting a missionary.

The average American spends 3-5 hours per DAY on their smartphone (depending on which survey you read). We will line up for the newest IPhone even though we own a perfectly adequate phone, but when asked to give to someone in need we tell them we can’t afford it. We need our daily Starbucks fix, which adds up to roughly $1,100 a YEAR! So how do we fix this? By choosing where we put our priorities! Matthew 6:24 says “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON (riches or wealth).

Here is my challenge: We must wean ourselves off of our materialistic views. We must give and do more for the cause of Christ! I have compiled a list of suggested areas to help us give more money and time to the cause of Christ! I DO NOT recommend cutting many things at the same time. Be realistic and take baby steps. Set your goals by the month and review them to see if you can do more each month. Things to Cut From the Budget (And Give to the Lord’s Work through your church!):

1. TV – $70-$150 a month – This might shock you, but you can live a perfectly normal life without a television! Actually, this may have more benefits than you think! I am not saying throw away your set. If you have to watch something, you can buy a cheap DVD player and get stuff from your local library or at yard sales.

2. WIFI – $50-$100 a month – With data packages on phones there is almost no need for wifi. However, there are also a plethora of places that have wifi now for free, so feel free to use them!

3. Streaming Services – Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. I have owned several of them, and now I own none. I can honestly say I have never missed a day of any of them! Besides, let’s be real: there is so much trash on them. Do we really want that battle in our homes?

4. Eating Out & Coffee – I do not recommend that you cut this category entirely. DRASTICALLY would be a better word. I like to take my wife on dates, and I like to have a little money to do it! Evaluate last month’s banking statement. This will help you set a budget for the next month.

5. NEWER AND BETTER! – This is a broad category, but anything in this area could help you. I currently have an IPhone 6s. They will release a new IPhone every year until Apple goes out of business. I may get a new phone someday, but I do not need one right now. There is nothing wrong with having new things, but make sure that things do not have you! I currently own clothes by many name brand companies. I found nearly all of them at thrift stores and yard sales. I fear that we try much too hard to “keep up with the Joneses” rather than focusing our time and money to win the Joneses to Christ!

Time To Cut (And Give To The Lord!)

1. Screen Time – According to a Marketwatch.com survey done in June of 2019, the Average American Home spends over 7 hours a day watching TV or looking at a cell phone. That’s 49 HOURS A WEEK! Take Baby Steps in this area. Try to reduce your time by one hour per week until you get to less than 3.5 hours a day for the entire family! Make sure to spend a good portion of this time with your family. Dads, you have to take the lead in this area! Plan things for your family that will help bring you closer together!

2. Shopping Time – Some people shop just to shop. This is okay in moderation if you are spending quality time with friends and family. However, nearly all impulse buying is done during pleasure shopping. Not only will cutting back give you more time, it could also save you money.

3. Family Time – I am a huge promoter of family time. I think there are some Christians who get out of balance because they are so focused on the Lord’s Work that they neglect their families. On the other hand, there are those who give hardly a thought to the Lord’s Work because they spend all their time with their family. If you balance them properly, you can do both! I have two small children. My wife and boys go soulwinning with me. We go to church functions together. We go to church conferences together. We go to the store together. We spend time together not doing anything related to the ministry. Your ministry time does not have to come at the expense of your family time!

4. “Me” Time – I realize that I’m gut punching a sacred cow here. While I am all for taking care of yourself, it should be cut if it is a distraction to your work for the Lord! Look, a hundred years from now, your Squatember goal at your local gym and your fastest 5k will mean absolutely nothing. What will matter is what you did for Christ! Keep Eternity in view!

Conclusion:

I am not even close to being the epitome of a balanced Christian. I do however want to live with Eternity in view! These things that I have shared are things that I am personally trying to evaluate to see if there is more that I can do for Him! I want to run my race “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2). I want Romans 10:13 to come to fruition, but I realize that unless I am committed to Romans 10:15 then it will not! I WANT TO LOVE JESUS BETTER THAN ICE CREAM!

James Young

YP | Open Door Baptist Church

Lima, OH

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