Do you remember the first time you tasted chocolate? If you could explain it, you’d probably try to describe it like: smooth yet chalky, melt in your mouth yet solid in your hand, maybe you’d even say “chocolatley” for lack of a better term. Describing the taste of chocolate to someone who has never tasted it would be difficult and you might end up just telling them to experience it for themselves!
Psalm 34:8 says: “Taste and see that the Lord is good…” No one can taste something for you. That is something everyone has to do individually. But once you’ve tasted something good… you know for sure, It’s GOOD! And that typically leads you to tell people about it. Like the Good News of Jesus, we can talk about our experience and how good it tastes- but we can’t make someone taste it. They have to want it. So what role do we play as Christians to evangelize to those around us? There are two phrases I like to keep in mind when deciding how to share my faith:
1. “People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care”.
You can proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ at every practice, game, team huddle… but if you don’t get to know your teammates and allow yourself to be known by them- why should they care what you have to say? Jesus said in John 13:35: “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” What constitutes as love these days? Time. Time is our most precious resource. You can’t buy it, you can’t slow it down, you can’t give it on a social media post.
Spend time getting to know your teammates. Do you know how many siblings they have? Do you know how many years they’ve played the sport? Do you know how they got to be on that team? We’re not talking about a full time job here- it’s the little things that set us apart as Christ’s disciples. That time before or after practice when you’re usually on your phone… instead seek someone out and stretch out with them while you ask about their day, week, month, whatever you feel comfortable with. (Insider tip: People love to talk about themselves, myself included ;) It’s amazing what can happen when you allow yourself to care about someone.
2. “Don’t answer questions that aren’t being asked”
(*Disclaimer: there are definitely exceptions for this rule, but go with me) We all know that person that doesn’t need to be asked a thing in order to talk… and talk… and talk…. Don’t be that person. Especially if what you’re going on and on about is yourself! The poor captive victim having to listen to you is for sure not listening- but most likely plotting their escape. James 1:19 says: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. Not going to lie- that’s hard for me at times. But the Bible is full of examples of what talking too much can do… spoiler alert- it ain’t good. How you live your life is your biggest testimony. How you conduct yourself on the field/court/mat speaks to how much you actually believe in that God you profess. Do you talk back to the refs? Do you join in with the sideline gossip? Are you respectful of your coach? Your salvation does not rest on your behavior- but your witness does.
The best way to share Christ with your teammates is asking yourself daily: “Where do I need to trust God more in my life?”. Living a life out of surrender to Jesus produces fruit. People are going to taste your fruit… will it be sweet or sour? Will it lead them to ask “why are you different?”. And my friend- they will ask. And in that moment you can start to describe how you’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good. What they do with your description is up to them and God. May the Holy Spirit fill you with His words- that do not come back void. You may not ever see a teammate give their life to Jesus, but you are planting seeds that hopefully someone else’s love and care will water one day. God is known for always following through, your teammates salvation is not up to you.
Be available, be genuine, be kind. They’ll start asking questions before you know it.