Our church is a “Pokémon Gym.” Although I’m not exactly sure what that is, I know it involves people randomly showing up, day and night, to capture furry critters on their phone camera that they can’t see in real life. Every day, the same folks tarry away tirelessly trying to capture invisible, nonexistent persons on their phone.
These are grown people; adults. They sit in the church parking lot and come and go with frequency.
And so, our church ordered some Pokémon tracts, which catches their attention with the game logo and shares the Gospel. Although I am occasionally annoyed at so many visitors, I do secretly enjoy pulling up and asking them, “Y’all need something from the church?” just to watch grown men – who should ideally be working – put their head down in shame and admit, “I’m playing Pokémon.” But, I always smile and say ‘ok’ and give them the wifi password and a tract.
Today, I gave some tracts to a vehicle of four adults, with their windows down, smoking in my face nonchalantly and tossing cigarette butts into the parking lot. They barely took it, but expressed excitement in seeing the Pokémon logo. But when they saw the Gospel, they laughed and tossed away the tracts.
The Words of Life were on those tracts. And they tossed them away.
Tonight, they came back to church when I was the last one left in the parking lot, but not to play Pokémon. They made an appointment with the food pantry, but missed it and came hoping to receive food. Apparently, playing Pokémon does not pay the bills.
As always, I obliged and arranged their food.
They did not throw away the food. They happily received it. But, they also got Bibles, which I would guess – like the tracts – they tossed aside (although not so bold, this time, to do it in front of me).
In John 6, the crowd came because he had food. But Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst (John 6:35).
My hungry friends could not fathom that what they tossed aside, that little card with the words of Christ, was infinitely more valuable than the boxes of “non-perishable food” I gave them. It does, in fact, have an expiration date. But if they would only receive Christ, he would give them life abundant.
I expect to see them tomorrow, as I do every day, chasing invisible little persons around on the phone. No doubt, they will be woefully unaware that an invisible God – far more real than Pokémon – is searchable and findable on the little cards in their floorboard and dash.
He’s right there, and he’s not even hiding. You need no app to discern him. He’s in plain view. He’s found in the text written on pieces of paper and in the Book.
And yet, they are too blind to see Him. And so, they chase little invisible, digital, furry animals on their phone who can neither feed them nor sustain them. All the while they make fun of Christians for worshipping a God they cannot see, who saw fit in His providence to feed them.
They cannot see the world, except through their device. And they cannot see God, except through His Word.
Little do they know, that the best treasure they got today is that which they wanted the least. And little do they know that which they wanted the most, will only last them until next week.
“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you” (John 6:27).
[Editor’s Note: Contributed by JD Hall]
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