Beth Moore, a popular Bible teacher and founder of Living Proof Ministries, once said, “If destruction fails to entangle us, distraction will do its best.” You may have been following our Facebook and Instagram accounts just to be supportive, or thinking “this would be really good for so-and-so…”, but I want to challenge you to think about what Burn The Ship could mean for YOU. You may not have a gambling problem, be selling drugs, or have a porn addiction like your brother, roommate, or friend, (and if you do, we are glad you're here!) but I'm guessing you still have a ship to burn. Like Beth said, maybe you’re not heading toward destruction, but you probably are distracted.
In Luke chapter 8, Jesus tells the parable (a type of story he often used to illustrate a moral lesson) of the sower. The farmer scattered seed to grow a crop, with some seed falling on the path, some on rocky ground, and some among thorns, none of which produced any fruit, while other seed fell on the good soil and yielded an incredible crop. In verse 14, he says, “The seed that fell among the thorny weeds is like those who hear God’s teaching, but they let the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life keep them from growing and producing good fruit.” In this day and age, I think most Truth falls among those metaphoric thorns, and is choked out by the distractions of this world.
The thorns Jesus mentions above are the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life, and we all have these, to some extent. Our worries range from serious to petty, but anything can consume our thoughts when we let it. Maybe you’re worried about a test that’s coming back from the doctor, that your child is not fitting in at school, or that your Instagram likes are dwindling. You may compare yourselves to your neighbors, or celebrities you follow on Twitter, and think, “I don’t have riches”, but if you have a smart phone, tablet, or computer on which to read this, you do in the eyes of most of the world. And pleasures- there has probably never been a time in history that society had easier access to the array of worldly pleasures available to us. Alcohol, sex, drugs, travel, entertainment, food, material possessions: you name it, it is at our fingertips.
And maybe you’ve got stress under control, you are not consumed by material things, and you have a pretty good handle on avoiding the temptations of “worldly pleasures”. But let’s be honest: we are all distracted. It’s almost impossible to avoid distraction in this age of technology, 24-hour everything, television, and social media. Red Crow Marketing Inc. estimated in 2015 that Americans are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ads a day. Social Media Today reported in January of this year that the average person spends nearly two hours on social media daily (with teens spending up to nine hours). The New York Times ran an article last year stating that the average American adult watches a staggering five hours of TV a day. And with the rise of companies like Amazon and the accessibility of online commerce, Fortune.com revealed in an article last June that consumers are now making 51% of their purchases from the comfort of their own phone or computer.
You may have read all these stats (or similar ones) before, and wonder why I’m quoting them at you. You may be thinking, I don’t even have a Twitter account, or I only binge watch Netflix on the weekends. And I’m not saying any of the above things are inherently bad. What I am saying is if your Facebook app, Game of Thrones addiction, or online shopping sprees are distracting you from God and your purpose in the short life we have here, then it is a ship that needs to be burned.
And y’all, let me assure you, I am not pointing fingers here- I struggle with letting the relatively harmless things of this world distract me from my walk with God daily. It’s much easier to pull out my phone and open my Instagram app than it is to pull out and read my Bible. It’s a lot more comfortable to sit back on the couch and watch Friends than it is to hit my knees in prayer for my husband, my kids, or my country. It’s a lot simpler to keep our current budget than to make room to give money towards sponsoring kids in Haiti. But at Burn The Ship, we are about change over comfort, lasting reward over ease, and mission over distraction. It may not be the path of least resistance, but it is the road less traveled that leads to freedom, joy, and living out the crazy, wonderful plan God has for our lives.
(And this is not to say that you can never just relax, or have to donate all your grocery money, but I think as humans we tend to err toward the side of self-indulgence instead of sacrifice.)
Again, if you’ve found yourself saying, “Uncle Marty needs to check out Burn The Ship”, by all means, pass along our info to Uncle Marty; we would love to encourage him as he seeks change in his life. But don’t forget to look yourself in the mirror and see what may need to be removed from your own life. Again, I am guilty of this very thing! I’ve heard sermons and read books where I thought, “so-and-so could really use this message right now”. But when all we do is divert and point the finger, we miss out on what God wants to do in our own lives. And I don’t think that’s something we want to miss.
So I challenge you to do some reflecting. What bad habit, addiction, or even simply a distraction has been keeping you from the life of purpose you were made to live? Start burning that ship today!