The Top Temptation of Food for Students

The term ‘food for thought’ is anything that provides mental stimulus for thinking.

Some typical ones that come to mind are:
Why are there no B batteries?
Why does a ship carry cargo, and a car carry shipments?

One of my favorites that I pondered when I was young was, “Does a cat become kitty litter when you throw it out a car window?” I never travelled with our childhood cat in the car, so I have yet to find out. I would be willing to test the stated hypothesis.

And I still can’t seem to understand why there is braille on ATM machines.

But, while we are on the subject of thinking about food (see what I did there), it seems around this time of year, we tend to think about food more often with the holidays.

So I wanted to take this time to provide some food for thought …about food.
How often do we take food into consideration when we make plans for youth?

You may say, “always.”  You always consider food.  It’s a must to have food.  It seems to always be an essential element when we gather, to where we have to have some kind of food offered.   Many times we gather around dinner times to where the students have to eat something.  Or the event is going to be long enough that you simply want to avoid the, “I’m starving!” mantra that tends to come from the mouths of babes, even though they had a meal within that last 3 days.

So the next question is, do we go the route of cheap food or healthy food?

Pizza is to youth ministry like cats are to kitty litter.  Since pizza is as efficient to feeding the thousands as kitty litter is to clumping, it just makes sense that they go together. But do we provide anything beyond that pizza, an alternative to the pie?

When we plan, do we hit the default button and immediately order the pizza because it’s cheap or do we take into consideration of providing something more healthy?

When I was a youth pastor, any larger event I was planning for, I would order the pizza and then I would assign girls to bring sweet snacks and boys were to bring salty snacks (because girls are sweet and boys are the result of a chemical reaction). That was a middle school boys joke and a chemistry joke rolled into one.

But, do we automatically provide all these types of snacks with no healthy alternative? Then we throw in the energy drinks and caffeinated drinks to keep them going. It helps to keep the energy levels up, that’s for sure. But are we enabling unhealthy food habits by what we provide for our youth?

This past summer, we asked thousands of students at NTS Camp this question, “Which ONE thing about food is a temptation for you?”

We gave them these options to choose from:
1. Eating too much
2. Not eating enough
3. Eating unhealthy
4. Wasting food
5. I don’t think its a temptation

The top answer was ‘Eating unhealthy’ at 39% of the students.  That next top answer was ‘Eating too much’ at 24%.  These two answers consist of 63% of students having an unhealthy relationship with food.  Again, are we enabling this behavior?

Now, it is not something that I am saying we need to eliminate pizza, soda, candy, and chips altogether from our gatherings, but instead a topic on food to consider. I absolutely love pizza. I love caffeine. But I also love so many items of food that are natural and that are good for my body.

When I read 1 Corinthians 6:19, it is hard to think of this verse as simply referring to abstaining from sexual immorality, but to view our body as temples in other ways. The verse states,

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

Our body is a temple, housing the Holy Spirit, …therefore glorify God in your body. This verse comes to mind when I begin to filter the various things that I could do to destroy that temple, ways that are not glorifying God with my body. And to some, it is sexual activity that is destroying that temple, but how many take the perspective of our body being a temple when we eat and drink?  Things that too could destroy God’s temple.

A 2012 study states Childhood Obesity has quadrupled from 5% to 21% in the last 30 years for 12-19 year olds. I wouldn’t say that is considered healthy.  And are we just perpetuating this trend?

Are we teaching that our bodies are temples when it comes to the food we partake in or is it something that doesn’t even cross your mind?

So, do we consider the healthy alternatives or go the cheap route for our youth? That is food for thought without the calorie intake. Or kitty litter.

Jayson Brewer
Director of Production Design
Never The Same


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