We had a new curler playing with our team at the rink last night. It was about his third time playing; he’s very enthusiastic, and he’s trying hard. But he has quite a lot to learn about how to deliver a stone.
And it has implicitly fallen to me to try to teach him some skill – to mentor him as a curler.
I encouraged him all night, every time he did something right. I reminded him that there is a great deal to think about when it comes to throwing a rock: weight, turn, line for the stone – and all the body alignment issues that contribute toward weight, turn and line. I fear for his knees if he doesn’t adopt a more proper delivery soon!
I marvel at the irony of this situation. You see, I’m still learning technique myself, eleven-and-a-half years after throwing my first stone. I’ve only recently managed to be happy with a consistent delivery style. And now I’m supposed to teach someone else?!
One of the great things about teaching a sport – or anything else – is that you don’t have to be perfect at it to be able to mentor a beginner. You don’t have to have all the answers. You just have to care enough to share what you know.
The same is true with our faith. When we talk about Jesus with other people – a daunting thing for any of us to do – we often fear that we just don’t know enough to be able to face the potential questions we’ll face. But there’s no need to shrink back at this prospect. We don’t need all the answers. We don’t need to be Bible experts. What we need is faith that Jesus is who he claimed to be, and enough love for others to care enough to share what you know.
I want to teach my young curling friend how to throw a rock because I’m concerned that the cartilage in his knees will be no better than spaghetti in a few years if he doesn’t change how he’s delivering the stone soon. And I want to share my faith with others because I’m concerned that their eternal destiny is at stake.
“No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2.23, NIV). This is just one of the Scripture passages that makes it clear that Jesus is the way to God – not a way, but the way. That’s not very politically correct these days, but then, the Bible was never known for its political correctness. This is what drives us to share our faith – a conviction that Jesus is not just the way to God ‘for me’, but that he is the way to God ‘for all’.
There are several safe ways that can render a curling stone to the place of the skip’s choosing. But there is only one way that will render a person’s eternal destiny in heaven. His name is Jesus.
Don’t be afraid that you don’t know enough. God will give you the words to say. And he also has given you a faith community to support your evangelistic endeavours. I encourage you to lean into your church family when you share your faith. Introduce your Christian friends to those with whom you are sharing the Lord. Rely on your small group leader or your pastor to help you get answers to questions that your as-yet-unbelieving friends are asking.
In so doing, you are not just going to church. You’re being the church – just as God intended.