To help unify my goals for the upcoming year, I find it helpful to have a theme. In this way I can tie all my activities to a unified purpose. For next year I keep coming back to the idea of “Consume less, contribute more”. I wanted to share this with you, because as I pray through my ideas and plans, I find this theme has great potential for all who claim Christ as our Lord. What would it look like in your life if you were to consume less and contribute more?
Some are surprised to learn that on my list of priorities, I place myself at number two. Before you dismiss me as arrogant and self-centered, let me explain. Unless I keep myself physically healthy and mentally sharp, I cannot fulfill my potential for God’s (He’s number one on my list) purposes or effectively lead and serve my wife and family (numbers three and four respectfully). When I neglect my well-being and growth, it negatively affects all other areas of my life. So from a purely physical standpoint, consuming less and contributing more has obvious implications: consume fewer calories while burning more. Surely that’s good advice for all of us!
Thinking about our relationships, imagine how much healthier they would be if we would take less and give more. What if we let go of our selfish desires and fulfilled the needs of others instead. Don’t focus on what you might get from associating with someone else, but concentrate instead on how you can help them. Zig Ziglar is known for saying that “you can get anything you want in life if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want”. By the way, living in such a way is modeling the life of Christ. Jesus came to serve and to save, not to receive or consume.
By all accounts, the majority of Christians who attend weekly services are strictly consumers. Shockingly low percentages of people regularly give financially or of their time in service to their local body of believers. We are content to show up, be entertained and hear a good message. What if next year we stopped being strictly consumers and started contributing instead? How might your local church be able to expand their efforts to share the Gospel with more people if you would sacrifice more of your time, money and energy? This is a simple and easy change we can all make today.
Speaking of our finances, what if next year we determined to consume less and contribute more? How many more hungry people might be fed if we simply increased our giving to that purpose by 1%? In the interest of consuming less, select an area of your budget to cut by 1% as well. That’s $1 out of every $100 that you earn. Such a small sacrifice, when combined with the efforts of others, can make a major impact on our world for the sake of the Kingdom.
Consider adopting your own theme for next year and devise ways you can track your efforts. I give you my full blessing and permission to steal and adopt my “Consume less, contribute more” mantra. In fact I’d be honored if you did. Whatever you decide, make next year a year in which you impact the world like never before. It doesn’t have to be a big expression; even small stones can make giant ripples in the pond of life. Ask yourself how you might consume less and contribute more in the next year. I’d love to hear how God uses that commitment to impact the world through you. Let’s make next year the most Christ-centered yet!