I was introduced to “Would You Rather” when I was a youth pastor. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the game, it’s very simple. In a group of people, you ask “would you rather” and give two equal options to choose from. The two options could be funny, gross, deep, superficial or just impossible. Here are a couple examples
Would you rather have Coke or Pepsi?
Would you rather be the funniest person in the room or the most intelligent?
Would you rather travel 100 years into the future or into the past?
Would you rather have free WiFi on demand anywhere or free coffee on demand anywhere?
You get the idea. I’m sure that psychologists could analyze our answers in some amazing way, but for me, I just enjoy using them to get people thinking and talking.
(P.S. for my small group, we’ll use some of these for our icebreakers next time, so now’s your time to prepare.)
A New Question to Consider
Here is my addition to the “Would You Rather” universe.
“Would you rather create thirst or give water?”
Personally, I think this question is especially important from a spiritual perspective. Here’s some background that might help you understand why.
My Drug Problem
Growing up I had a drug problem. Rest easy, it’s not the drug problem you’re thinking of. Nope, my drug problem was that I got “drug” to church, “drug” to Sunday School, “drug” to youth choir, “drug” to Cadets (Let’s hear it my CRC peeps), and “drug” to Christian school*. So yes, I very much grew up in a Christian home. Part of that upbringing was to be in lots of church activities, including Christian schools, for pretty much my whole life.
Looking back, I would offer this assessment. The Christian education I received gave me a lot of water, but it didn’t necessarily create thirst.
In many ways, we were given the answers to questions before we ever asked. I know part of the reason for this was to protect us from the world. As a parent, I understand this desire. However, this approach to education also inoculated me against searching God’s Word for myself. Growing up, I didn’t need to think or wrestle with issues. We just needed to repeat the answers I had been given.
I was given water without creating thirst.
If I was the only one in this boat, it would just be a personal need for growth. However, I encounter many Christians who function this way.
Just so you know, here’s one telltale sign of giving water without creating thirst. If we already know the right answer without hearing a person’s whole story, then we are just giving water.
For example, if I hear a person telling their life story and five minutes in I interrupt them with the correct biblical truth to solve their problem, then I am giving water without creating thirst.
My Answer to The Question
So as a follower of Jesus and a pastor, here’s my answer: I would rather create thirst.
Creating thirst is less about giving the right answer and more about helping people see their need for Jesus. Creating thirst ultimately leads the other person to search God’s Truth for the answers, rather than simply borrowing my answers. In my experience, creating thirst is much harder and takes much longer than simply giving the water, but “thirsty” people also experience much deeper transformation.
Here are some biblical reasons for creating thirst over giving water.
- Matthew 5:13. Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth. In the ancient world, salt had many purposes, including preservation of food. Yet, one of the central features of salt is that it makes us thirsty for water. Paul uses this idea later in Scripture.
- Colossians 4:6. Here the Apostle Paul teaches us that our conversations need to “full of grace” and “seasoned with salt”. So showing grace in our conversations needs to be coupled with creating thirst.
- John 7:37-38. Jesus tells us that believing in him results in “rivers of living water” flowing from within us.
I put these truths together to say that our job is to help people become spiritually thirsty and introduce them to Jesus. Jesus’s job is then to give them living water.
So what do you think? How can we create a thirst for spiritual truth?