“Do I actually care?”
This was the question I asked myself multiple times at university. On Sundays, I’d hear a preach about mission, sharing Jesus with friends and neighbours and people giving their lives to Jesus. I’d feel inspired after the service, ready to see Jesus change my friends’ lives, until I had to walk home, get ready for the week, and before I knew it, all inspiration was gone.
This is not to say the speakers weren’t inspiring - they were. They spoke clearly, everything was Bible-based and on a head level, I got it. But no matter how good a speaker or how beautifully-put-together a talk, it is the Holy Spirit that convicts at a heart level, and I’m not sure I was open to him convicting me.
For a while, I almost felt guilt that I didn’t care enough.
“I’m a Christian. I’m supposed to want to do mission and go make disciples.”
The truth is, a nap felt more appealing than sharing Jesus and changing the world.
But then, instead of focusing on my seeming inability to care enough, I started focusing more on Jesus.
I made a conscious effort to spend time with Him every morning before lectures.
I started to watch video sermons in my spare time.
I tried to answer questions that my friends had about faith.
Mission changed from something I believed I should ‘do’, to something I lived. It’s not that I needed to lead an Alpha course, travel to a third world country and lead hundreds to Jesus to be a missionary (though they’re all great things!), but instead, as I got to know Jesus more, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Him more. And when I fell in love with Jesus more, I couldn’t help but love others more.
And suddenly, I cared.
'Guilt leaves you in your struggles, but conviction brings you out of it.'
I had coffee recently with a student who is passionate about sharing Jesus with her friends. She sat opposite me and said, “it makes me so sad to think that they don’t know Him, that they don’t know what hope looks like”. As we paused and reflected on that for a moment, the emotion rose up as we sat outside a small coffee shop in Sheffield. She cared, she really cared.
She didn’t care because she’s a great evangelist, she didn’t care because she knows all the answers, she didn’t care because she’s an extrovert and friends with everyone. She cares because she knows Jesus, she knows the Hope He’s given her, and she overflows with love for her friends.
If you find yourself in a position of simply not caring enough, please don’t feel guilt. Guilt leaves you in your struggles, but conviction brings you out of it. Yes, we are supposed to make disciples of all the nations. Yes, we are supposed to boldly share our faith. But our first calling as followers of Jesus is to know Him deeply.
If you don’t care about introducing your friends to Him, I’d like to encourage you to spend some time with Him one-on-one. Take a couple of hours, a whole day if you can, to retreat and reflect on who He is and how much He cares for you.
Why not spend time identifying where He’s blessed you in the last 6 months?
Why not spend some time reading the gospels to reacquaint yourself with Jesus?
Why not ask Him some of the questions you’re longing to ask?
My prayer is that you know Jesus deeply so that you overflow with love for your friends and your city.