[Calvary Chapel] 2002-10-12 - Soon to Be Burned

Encore from 2000-02-26

Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.

I remember the first "Christian" T-shirt I bought. It was from a Twila Paris concert, and I liked it because of the poem, like lyrics, on the back. I attended the concert shortly after moving to this area. Buying that shirt opened the door to a whole new world of "Christian" stuff.

There are some pretty big Christian stores here, and do they have the stuff! A pen with "I love Jesus" written on it, post cards, pictures, cups, coffee mugs, books and more books -- oh the product line was endless!

I did notice one other thing though. It was a little more expensive than the "normal" stuff. For example a coffee mug at Dollar Store might cost a dollar, but if went I across the street to the Christian bookstore and got the same mug with "Jesus Saves" on it, it might cost $7.00. I talked to some of my friends about this. They figured that I might as well buy my "stuff" at the Christian bookstore because I was supporting the church. Hmmm... what church, I wondered? Well, anyway...

I reasoned that I would be spreading the gospel by people reading my stuff. You know, then people would know who I was. I could be a Christian witness without opening my mouth, cause it said it on my shirt (and my coffee mug and my wall and my pencils).

(Oh and just for the record, being a witness without having to open your mouth is not a bad thing).

Then I went to my first Christian festival. Well, hello! If you think that Christian stuff sells at the bookstore, wait until you go to a festival! You name it, you can buy it, and for a few more dollars it can say "Jesus" on it! I think that is when this whole thing started to bother me. Some of the vendors were not Christians. Ok, just so I've got this straight. I get the unbelieving vendor who sells me a regular three-dollar T-shirt for $12.00, because he printed John 3:16 on it. What is wrong with this picture?

To be fair, I have to say that people have asked me about my T-shirts. I have had the opportunity to witness to people because they liked what my shirt said. I also noticed that when people come into the kitchen (I have various home school signs displayed, some of which quote verses.), that those who normally swear tend to bleep out words or apologize for them. And if my kids are going to wear shirts with messages on them, I'd rather they be Christian messages. I guess there is no point in throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

But you know, it has made me think. It has made me think about all the "stuff" I have accumulated over the years. In light of that, I decided to go through my CD's this week and donate some to the church library - and guess what. I had some that I had never even opened.

I was reading a Missionary Magazine this week. It had an article about people in Third World countries, who share one page of the Bible between families and alternate it among them because they do not own a whole Bible. I have several copies of different versions of the Bible. Some of these people risk their lives to study the Word of God. Some sleep on the ground without so much as a blanket, some can carry what they own in a back pack -- and yet we complain.

Now I am not saying that the Christian bookstores should close and we should never buy another T-shirt. But maybe we should take the time to ask the Lord if it is really something we need, and if it is something He can use to further the Kingdom.

Hmmm... maybe to put things into perspective, we will end on this note. We heard a preacher on the radio say it like this: "Everytime you buy something, put a little red sticker on it that says 'soon to be burned.' That will help you keep things in perspective."

We haven't rushed out and bought our stickers yet, but it sure sounds like a great idea!

Psalm 122:6

In His Service,
Rick & Sandy

[email rick] liv4yeshua@aol.com