Why I don’t watch Netflix (Much) by JARED ELROD

“I have always considered the phrase, ‘burning the candle at both ends,’ as a cautionary tale.”

Many of us have responsibilities we have been charged with – at home, our workplaces, church etc. Sometimes, these responsibilities encroach on our leisure time and we don’t like that at all. But how far should we go to guard our leisure time? Or put in another way: Which should we give preeminence – our responsibilities or our leisure activities? This touching article arising from a personal experience can serve as our guide.

A big “Thank you” to Pastor Elrod for contributing this article.

Why I don’t watch Netflix (Much) by JARED ELROD

Lately I have made some comments about not watching T.V. I’ve also had occasion to caution youth pastors who come home from their midweek service and watch Netflix. This is not an original thought. I am 100% ripping this concept off of a dude named Gary Vanerchuk.

I didn’t always hold this view. In fact I kind of disagreed with him. I have always been a balance type guy. I grew up hearing about burnout in ministry and have always considered the phrase, “burning the candle at both ends,” as a cautionary tale.

In 2011, I left my full-time Associate Pastor’s position and became a freelance copywriter and marketer. This world was full of people pro workaholic ideas and as a kind of lazy married guy with two kids, I always reminded myself that they were younger than me and single.

I used my family and God to cover up my laziness. Then something happened!


About a month into a new youth ministry position, one of my students killed himself! I didn’t know him very well. I had only met him three times. Twice in Sunday School and once at a social event. I have never dealt with something like this before but did my best to be there for his friends and the other affected students.

However, about two weeks after the funeral, I was going through the pictures on my phone and found one of a list of students I wanted to follow up with. Guess who’s name was at the top of the list?

I stared at the phone for at least five minutes not sure what to make of it. I have never been the type of person to blame myself for other people’s actions or to play the “If I had only” game. But this list was demanding I rethink my entire work/life balance worldview.

One question that haunted me for the rest of the week was: “What was I doing to stay so busy that I hadn’t had the time to reach out to this kid and see how he was doing?”

So I did a self evaluation and what I found was that time was not the issue. It was an issue of priorities. I discovered that most nights I came home and relaxed with a few shows on Netflix. “The Flash” was my favorite, but “Law & Order” was a close second.

Because I felt I deserved a reward from a long day (long compared to bankers’ hours), things like following up with students who haven’t been around for a few weeks were falling through the cracks.

So, although I could do nothing about the past, I promised myself I would work a little harder and sacrifice a little more, to pour into the lives of the teens whose lives I have been entrusted with.

About the writer:
Jared Elrod is a youth pastor at East End Assembly of God Church in Richmond, Virginia, USA. He is happily married with three kids. This article was originally shared on his blog (youthfactor.us). This edited version is posted here with permission.

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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.


  • Edu

    Bless his soul… I think we should all live with the consciousness of affecting people around us and repent from giving less priorities to things that are necessary even though it may appear as something small.

  • Ifeanyichukwu

    Deeply encouraging. Paying a lot more attention to the people around you will unravel mysteries. God bless you and your ministry Mr. Jared.

    • Edith Ohaja

      Yeah! Reminds me of a song Amy Grant did years ago that talked about seeing with our Father, God’s eyes. Stay blessed, Ifeanyichukwu.

  • This site is amazing… learnt a lot

  • Onuorah chinemerem

    Yes. Priorities really should be placed right. On that note, I’ll try reducing the amount of time I spend on twitter and instgram.

  • nwosu esther chioma


  • oleru precious

    impressive piece

  • Jeremiah Chioma

    uhmm Priorities… need to get mine straight

  • Oweka Chioma Sandra

    May God give us grace to take decisions that would affect our lives positively

  • Ogide valeria

    Due to this new age and technologies around us, we forget things that are important. This is a lovely piece reminding us to set our priorities

  • maduebo ifunanya blessing

    Educating and impressing piece

  • Amadi victoria chinwendu

    This is enlightening

  • Rose Jonathan

    The discovery of a problem is the very first step to solving the problem. May God strengthen you to undertake this task. Amen.

  • egbe ebere blessing

    maximising our time should be our utmost priority in life

  • Ogechi

    It’s so Heartbreaking knowing that your negligence to the work God entrusted into your hand brought about someone’s death. However, its just the Grace of God that will alert us in that area.
    May He give us sensitive ears that will hear,an obedient spirit that will sit up and work,and speed to our feet to run fast and attend to His vineyard while we still can
    Lovely work!

  • Flawless Ifeanyi

    Remember to give less time to unimportant things and it is good to affect the lives of others. May his soul rest in peace Amen

  • Flawless Ifeanyi

    We should give less time to unimportant things and give priority to things that matter. May the soul of the young fellow rest in peace

  • Iroegbu Amarachi

    Netflix is a form of relaxation but when it is taken too far it turns to an addiction,if we want to improve our work habits we should reduce the use of Netflix.

  • Chioma Ezeudu

    Nothing hurts like seeing a wreck that one would have helped prevent happen. I still live with that guilt. I had a friend in high school that wanted to be my best friend. I pushed her out because I was hurting at that time and felt I had no time for best friends, although I still spoke with her and helped her with her maths. I noticed there were some things she wanted to talk about but could not open up to me because I wasn’t her best friend and she was not sure if I really cared. She became ill and I promised myself to visit but I never did. Immediately after high school, she died, and now I live with a lot of guilt. Maybe I motivated her to be her best, but I never gave her a chance to motivate me to be my best. Maybe I asked her to reach for the stars, but I never asked her to accept Jesus. This day I live through the hands of time, too conscious not to repeat the same mistakes, too conscious not to misplace my priorities ever again.

    • Edith Ohaja

      Wow! Thank God for your decision but you also need to hand over the guilt to Jesus. God bless you soooo much for sharing with a great measure of feeling and openness.

  • Ndieze Kelechi precious

    Only if he knew better he would have had a good balance between work and leisure time.

  • Joseph Edidiong

    Wow. Seek first the kingdom. It’s funny how we sometimes allow ourselves to get caught up in our own selfish desires and forget that we have a role to play in people’s lives. That God has planted us in a position for a reason, that we are not our own and souls are looking up to us.
    Thank God he eventually had a rethink.

  • Orji blessing chidubem

    That’s all that was required and who knows,the poor boy might have still been alive…its not always good to give ourselves too much credit for the good things we have done and feel we deserve a big reward or even start demanding one,because the truth is that our reward is in heaven and not here on earth.

  • In all things, you really have to put your priorities first to avoid “Had I known” or “If only I had”. This story will help a lot of people, including me. Thanks, Aunty Edith!

  • Anekwe Paschaline

    If only always comes at the end. We should try as much as possible to encourage and help others around us and not spend too much time chasing our own needs. Nice write up

  • I wonder how frustrated the student was to have committed suicide. It is unfortunate the young boy died before Pastor Jared realised his mistakes.

  • Afunanya Chiamaka Lilian

    We should really pay attention to people around us and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be caught up in our own selfish desires because we have a role to play in other people’s lives. If only he had checked the list earlier, maybe the boy would have been saved.

  • Onwuamaeze Ikechukwu John

    It’s true you made a mistake in the past, but it doesn’t justify your not watching Netflix. “There is time for everything”, plan your time well and I assure you there will be a slot for relaxation and priority. Still, it’s a nice write up.

    • Edith Ohaja

      Read carefully, my dear. He said he wasn’t watching it much (check the title), not that he has forbidden himself from watching it.

      • I totally agree with Pastor Elrod on placing our priorities right. When you think of it, Netflix and other entertainment sites do not add much to our lives. Youths most times find themselves caught in the vain web of entertainment and the earlier we start cutting down on the amount of entertainment piece we source, the better.

  • Eze Blessing Sopuruchukwu

    This post is a moral lesson to everyone, I learnt a lot from it. We should always pay attention to people around us because we have a role to play in their lives.

  • Ikedichi blessing henry

    Actually, events like this are bound to happen especially when we overlook tiny details not only in ministry but in all ramification

  • Oba Cindy Biobele

    Technology has made people people detach from things that actually matter. We should learn to pay attention to our outside world as we don’t know who we might save.

  • Onwuamaeze Ikechukwu John

    My bad, if that’s the case then it’s good he was able to checkmate himself but it was too late. May the soul of the deceased rest in peace.

  • Adeke Chukwuka

    We should learn to do the right things at the right time to avoid uncertainties in life. Procrastination kills the inner man in us by making important things in our lives look inferior.


    Teenagers are the most delicate group of people in the world. Anyone who has the responsibility of being in charge of them should make it they priority.

  • chah ugochukwu adiensa

    it is a good thing that he reflected on his life decided to change. Not many people are willing to rethink their lives especially to leave comfort, to sacrifice a little for others. I really wish everyone would rethink and decide to live better lives.

  • Onuoha Divine Nmasinachi

    Its is expedient we learn how to prioritize the most important things.
    So that we don’t spend so much time on things that are not important and regret later.
    Let us make out time, do some self evaluation, know the things that eat up our time, and make necessary adjustments.

    This is timely ma.

  • Eze Nnenna Uzoamaka

    Thanks to Pastor Elrod. We give so much of our time and attention to TV that we neglect what’s important. This takes us far away from helping lives and making use of our potentials to bless others.

  • Edwin ijeoma vivian

    Priorities should be placed first to avoid had I known.

  • Nnachetam Favour

    Wow! This is really for me. I had a similar experience recently. I was to follow up on some persons, but because I was carried away by some issues I can’t really place my hands on, one of them lost the Dad and I happen to find out a month after the funeral. I felt so bad that I wasn’t there for her. Am setting my priorities aright.

  • Ugama Gloria Nkechinyere

    Making plan and setting priorities before action is crucial to avoid unnecessary wasting of time and kept off the lament of “had I known”

  • Kat

    Its kind of sad, what happened to that kid and there really is no need to point fingers or play the blame game after the harm has been done. The main thing is that pastor Elrod realized his mistake. He woke up to the fact that he could do better to take care of the flock that had been put under his care. He set his priorities right again and promised himself that he would actually start trying from then on. We should learn from this story. If we discover that there is anything , even the slightest action we can take to help others out of a trying moment, we should do it immediately. We should do away with unnecessary things and take into consideration what is really important

  • Bryan Casey

    This is just like the saying goes” there is time for everything “….

  • Agbo onyekachi obumneme

    It all has to do with discovering what is right for one to do at each point in time and doing it. Don’t ignore what is needful for other things which you think are more beneficial to you leaving others. You may ignore those others you think has less utility and things will go wrong. Some parents are so busy even in ministry that they ignore their family and children and these often lead to problem because things may be going wrong with the children and they have no body to relate their predicament to and not only that, they may be engaging in wrong attitude with nobody to caution them or guide them. Parenting in any capacity is very important and something that should be taken seriously both as direct parent or as a guardian, not only in ministry but even in the secular would.

  • Theophilus Blessing

    So sorry about that student. We all must endeavour to place our priorities right. According to the cliche ” all work, no play makes Jack a dull boy but too much play or all play & no work makes him a mere toy”.

  • Mirian Ndawe

    My mum will always say, the two most important things in life are priorities and moderation, one has to set his priorities right first of all, and then do all things with moderation, that way you’ll always do the right thing at the right time.

  • Eze Chioma

    Paying attention to everything concerning your students should be the topmost priority of a teacher. However, cooling off after a hards day at work with a drink in hand and Netflix is not bad and should be a reward for your hardwork. Learning how to properly balance work and pleasure should be a skill all teachers should learn

  • Nwosu Victoria Onyinye

    That’s really something. I feel we should all try to strike a balance between work and leisure. This way, we know exactly when it’s time to do certain things we map out for the day .

  • Amalu precious

    Dedicating your time for humanity is golden ❤️. And I believe we Christians have the sole responsibility to look out for each other including non-believers

  • Ikechukwu Fountain Chidera

    May God give is the grace to take decisions that would affect our lives positively.

  • Obajie Chinonyerem

    We need to spend our time doing things that are worthwhile.

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