True confessions… I play video games. Well that’s not quite true. I only play one video game – a game called Civilization. My youngest son taught me to play. I kept watching him play out of the corner of my eye and the images on the screen intrigued me. The game wasn’t as violent as many of my son’s games were. In fact it seemed quite civilized. So as a way of connecting with my boys… I learned to play.
So for those of you for whom video games are anathema, let me tell you a bit about this game. You begin as the leader of a nation back in the stone age and move forward in time developing your cities, industries, population, culture and religion. I, of course, always choose to be Christian – usually protestant. I especially enjoy building world wonders like the Mont St. Michaels or the Oracle at Delphi. My favorite part of this game, however, is building Missionaries and Apostles! Missionaries and Apostles can be sent to other civilizations to convert the masses. When I play my game, I typically make and send out lots and lots of missionaries and Apostles and find this extraordinarily satisfying! Additionally I always win the game when I do this. My sons really laugh at me for this.
I was thinking about why this is so satisfying tonight. I think the truth is that the process of sharing one’s faith and being an ambassador for God is not a simple thing. Sharing something so personal as one’s relationship with our Lord takes thoughtful articulation, a remarkable demonstration of love and a lifestyle that is a witness to the power of God in one’s life. This is not at all easy. The whole process of “giving away your faith” takes time and attentiveness and passion. It is, however, something that has always been a deep desire in my life. I want to give away my faith.
The truth is converting the masses on Civilization is just a game. It has no real meaning and probably is a shallow representation of the forced conversions of whole civilizations that were common place in the Middle Ages – not anything we would ever want to emulate. Gee… I hope I didn’t just spoil my game for myself. I may have to go back to pursuing a cultural victory.
Jesus calls us to go and make disciples, to give away our faith. This is actually a lovely gift to offer someone. My relationship with God in Jesus Christ is precious and has guided my life for almost 50 years now. Nothing is more important. Why wouldn’t I want to share God?
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