Right now thousands of people have gotten off of their couches, left their homes with smartphone in hand, and are looking to catch wild Pokémon out in the real world. I think there is something that Christians can learn from this. This is going to sound snarky and judgmental towards my own tribe, so bear with me. As of this writing the game has been out less than a week. What I find interesting is that there are probably more people out and about with the intended purpose of trying to catch Pokémon this week, than there are followers of Jesus out and about with the intended purpose of sharing God’s love in some way, shape, or form. “Don’t be a jerk, Corby! It’s just a game!” I know, I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be a jerk, and I’m not dissing on the game, I promise. But there is a convicting reality here. OK, it’s convicting me.
What people can do and are doing with this game got me thinking. Pokémon Go uses GPS, actual maps based on where you are, and enables you to roam about and hunt for Pokémon in real world places. When you get close to one, your device vibrates and you can try to catch the critter. There are so many people out and about that business are having to put up signs saying things like, “Paying Customers Only, No Pokémon Go.” Apparently, some people are going and knocking on the door to people’s homes and asking permission to go in their back yard to play. Even churches are being invaded.
When Jesus formally invited Peter to be one of His disciples, Jesus said to Him, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:18 NKJV) In context, Jesus is using a picture directly from Peter’s world as a professional fisherman with this invitation. The same kind of invitation, nay, even command, is extended to us as followers of Jesus. In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus tells His guys to go and disciple-make. Interestingly, “Go” isn’t the command, “disciple-make” is. In other words, it could be translated, “As you are going about your life, disciple-make.” Later, in Acts 1:8 Jesus says to His followers, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me…” What do we see here?
As followers of Jesus you and I have an app, of sorts, installed. In fact, its part of our upgraded core operating system. It’s the Holy Spirit. Among other things, He is a GPS (God’s Positioning System) and a sensor/alarm that detects when people who need Jesus are close. The problem is that we either don’t let Him run, or we don’t know how to let Him run, in either the background or foreground. God’s Holy Spirit in us empowers us, guides us, and shows us who needs the love of Jesus, or who needs to be caught. When I see more people out trying to catch imaginary creatures with their phones than Christians showing Jesus to others, it’s convicting.
I’m not saying that we all need to be going door-to-door witnessing, unless that’s what the Spirit is telling you to do. I’m not saying that we all need to be walking up and down the street, or around malls or other public places, praying for people, unless that’s what the Spirit is telling you to do. I’m not saying that we all need to be going out and looking for people to pray for healing, unless that’s what the Spirit is telling you to do.
My point is this; the Holy Spirit has people for us to go out and “catch” just like Peter and the fish, just like Pokémon in the game, if we are willing. There are people who need to hear about Jesus. There are people who need prayer. There are people who need healing. They are all around us all of the time.
What if actively, intentionally, looking for and finding people who need some Jesus in their lives, was as easy and as fun as turning on an app and just going? The reality is, IT IS! You can be a Pokémon trainer for Jesus!
If this all sounds weird, maybe it is. I wanted to be a Jedi for Jesus. Others want to be a soldier, a ninja, all kinds of things, for Jesus. That thing inspires us to discipline and action. If Pokémon is that for you, then I say go for it! Here are some questions to get you started thinking about it. I’d love to get some conversation going about it in the comments section below.
[reminder]What are the parallels you can make with your knowledge of what it takes to be a Pokémon trainer and a fully committed follower of Jesus? How can you become a catcher of people? What kind of discipline and training would it take?[/reminder]
If you want more help, there is a great book (that I need to re-read) called “You Were Born For This” by Bruce Wilkinson. He tells you how to turn on that app and use it in everyday life. Here is a link to the book on Amazon. You Were Born for This: Seven Keys to a Life of Predictable Miracles Check it out!
(Photo: Justin Thomas)
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