I want to tell you a story today about a group of island adventurers working strenuously to carve out a living and survive. Amidst all of their labors, some of the inhabitants began to discover gold, gems and oil in such large quantities that eventually, the island became known as Treasure Island. As they figured out how to sell the treasure, factories were built and an economy was formed.
Extra time and money meant they didn't have to work 20 hours a day any more for food. They changed their name to "Pleasure Island," the place where everyone used extra time and money to indulge themselves. They lived for fun and excitement, inventing new ways to keep themselves entertained. They created new things to eat and new fashions to wear.
Even with all this, they never found true happiness. They were indulging in too much food and became overweight. They invented new diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. No matter how fashionable they were, they still felt ugly. Bulimia, other eating disorders and cutting soon became common. No matter how much entertainment they had, they were still bored, so they resorted to drugs and drinking. It was a true tragedy, but they continued to wear a fake face, act like everything was fine and party all the time.
Unbeknown to them, individuals on 194 other islands not far away worked very hard to simply survive with out the pleasures & treasures found on Pleasure Island. They contracted many sicknesses and a countless number died due to lack of medication common on Pleasure Island. Some found themselves in horrific situations simply because of the lack. They became so desperate for money, they resorted to horrible mistreatment of some of their island dwellers. Children were sold as sex slaves. Women freely prostituted themselves just to survive.
Jesus Has a Message For Those On "Pleasure Island"
The people on Pleasure Island started out passionately in love with God. However, they became lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (II Timothy 3:2-5). Let me tell you, if you try to hoard your treasures, you will lose it. Matthew 16:25 says that he who keeps his life looses it, but he who gives his life gets his real life. The more you indulge yourself, the more unhappy you'll become. The reason we were created was to love, give and serve.
Are you doing that? Are you loving, giving and serving? Or are you living on "Pleasure Island?" What about our kids? Are we allowing them to get sucked into the lifestyle of "Pleasure Island?" You may not be the one using drugs or cutting yourself; your kids may not be those people either. But are you really living your life to give to others or are you hoarding your life? That's exactly how you'll lose it!
Let's get off Pleasure Island! Let's not allow ourselves or our kids to sit idly by in our pleasure while the millions of people who live in the 194 other countries of the world are being ravaged with such a horrendous plight. Only true happiness can be found when we remain in God's will and focus on others.
There are two ways to get off "Pleasure Island." First, you can get your heart focused on God rather than pleasure. Then you can give to endeavors that will combat these global atrocities, whether by a financial gift or even a gift of your time.
Go, Give, Make A Difference – The heart of Teen Mania's 2008 Global Expeditions movement where thousands of teens will be giving of their time to impact the world with the message of Jesus Christ this summer by going to different countries and cities in the USA. They do not desire to hoard their treasure. Their desire is to make Christ known and to share the amazing gift of eternal life.
How can others care about your message if you don't show how much you care? This is why we are going to travel to many people in need and share the love of Jesus in practical ways. In Ethiopia we are going to aid war victims through a medical clinic. In Uganda we are going to assist ex-child soldiers in regaining a normal life. In Thailand we are going to the most impoverished areas, sharing the gospel as well as providing funds to free sex slaves.
Will you join? We are not only looking for teens, but also adults to come on these trips. Can you reach out a helping hand? We need leaders to step up to the plate and answer the call. Log on to www.globalexpeditions.com to find out more information about the other countries we will be visiting and how to pursue leadership opportunities. Also, go to www.battlecry.com to find out how you can connect with others in your community focused on reaching people near you.
Ron Luce is the founder of Teen Mania, one of the world's largest Christian youth organizations, which inspires, empowers, and equips teens to reject the negative influences of pop culture and embrace the "coolness" of Christ. This year, Teen Mania is rallying hundreds of thousands of teens in the BattleCry movement to save their generation. For more information, visit www.BattleCry.com.