This Christmas, my son got Minecraft. Personally, I don’t get it. In fact, we went to a friends house over Christmas holidays, whose children were also into Minecraft. My pal also didn’t get it. I quite like gaming, but it’s one I just don’t get. It seems like a more inhibiting version of lego played on a console to me. But, whatever, we’re all different and I am glad my son like it.
In fact, he likes it so much he doesn’t stop talking about it. He keeps bursting into discussion about Withers (don’t ask because I still, honestly, have no clue – I googled it… it didn’t help much). He keeps telling me about being chased by something or other that I don’t understand. If he isn’t playing it, he is watching other people playing it on YouTube. The only break he has taken from it is when we went away for a few days and *shock horror* didn’t take the Switch with us.
As I say, I am glad he like it. If nothing else, it means the present was a winner. But it is notable that how much he loved the game just comes out in what he talks about. He isn’t that bothered (or hasn’t noticed) that none of us are really into it. He doesn’t care. He just wants to talk about and share what has captured his imagination at the minute. He loves it so it he talks about it and he isn’t bothered how much you like it, you are going to hear about it from him!
A few of us, I think, could do with taking a leaf out of his book so far as our evangelism and discipleship is concerned. My son talks about Minecraft all the time because he loves it. It occupies his thoughts and attention. If we really loved Jesus that much, if he really occupies our thoughts and attention that way, we would probably talk about him a lot more than we currently do too. We just wouldn’t be able to help it. He would be what we love so much that it just spills out of us.
I suspect a lot of our unwillingness to talk about Jesus – whether in evangelism or discipleship settings – is that we just don’t love him as much as we claim. Talking about him isn’t natural to us. He doesn’t occupy our thoughts and affections as much as he ought and so we don’t like to talk about him too much. Our lack of evangelism or discipleship isn’t a technique or an anxiety problem, it is an affection problem I think. Many of us just don’t love Jesus all that much.
If we reckon evangelism is essentially talking about the Jesus and his gospel with unbelievers and discipleship is talking about how Jesus and his gospel applies to the entirety of our lives, if we really love Christ, that talk will just spill out of us. If we are keen to know his Word, if we want to understand what he has to say to us, if we want to honour and glorify him in our lives, if he has captured our hearts and affections, we will talk about him. It is as simple as that.
I think this means two essential things for us. Knowing and loving Jesus is the grounds on which we will talk about Jesus to others. If we want to improve our evangelism and discipleship, we best start with our relationship with Jesus. If we don’t love him, we aren’t going to want to talk about him.
Second, it is easy to fall into a sense of duty about these things. If that is what is driving us, we probably aren’t going to last that long. Talking about stuff just because we have to is going to be a joy killer. We might stick at it, but it will be obvious to everyone we are speaking with that we don’t really want to be there. Unless we love talking about Jesus, everyone will sense that we don’t really love Jesus that much, we’re just talking to them about him because we have to. If we don’t seem to love him that much as we are speaking about him, why would anybody else sense any need to love him that much either?
In the end, we talk about and share what we love. We find no problem at all speaking to others about our favourite pastimes and hobbies. If we like films, we find it the most natural thing in the world turning round and talking to people about it after. If we like photography, we gladly share our work with others. If we like computer games, we happily tell about what we are doing. So it is, if we really love Jesus, we should be more than happy to talk to others about him too.