For all of us who have been wondering what Nintendo has been up to, it is finally time to open the oven and smell what the Switch is cooking… and it is bit of a mixed bag. First, the good news… we ARE getting an upgraded Switch unit this October, it looks pretty sharp, and it is only going to cost $50 more than the current Switch console. The main difference? Nintendo has replaced the original Switch screen with a slightly larger, tremendously upgraded OLED display which vastly improves the brightness and depth of color, which is a fantastic benefit… that can only be enjoyed while playing in handheld mode. Also, the stand on the back of the Switch has been reinforced to make it easier to position on a desk or table when playing in… well, you guessed it… handheld mode. Hmmm… sensing a bit of a theme running here… well, there’s got to be something for those of us who DON’T play their switch as a handheld. Let me see… oh, here we go! The internal memory has been boosted from a meager 32 GB to 64 GB, which is GREAT… you know, for those of us who haven’t already had to purchase a memory card to solve for that issue two years ago. C’mon… there has to be something about 4K output, increased power… no, apparently not. Nintendo added the ability to plug an Ethernet cable into the dock as well as improved the dock itself, so I suppose THAT is something. But while this may be a dramatically improved version of the Nintendo Switch in many aspects (and should be a no-brainer for those who have not purchased a Switch yet), it isn’t exactly the “Switch Pro” many of us were hoping for.
Now, I don’t want to sound too negative because I LOVE the Nintendo Switch, and this new OLED console will clearly be the superior version of this hardware when it releases later this year. But the message sent by this upgrade is clear… Nintendo clearly prioritized quality of life improvements for those of us who play our Switch undocked and on the go, in handheld mode. The screen is clearly a dramatic upgrade, but if we are playing this system while it is safely placed in its’ dock it is going to look and play EXACTLY the same on our TV screen or monitor as the original Switch did. The only way we truly enjoy the benefits of the newly upgraded visuals is if we remove it from the dusty confines of our entertainment center and allow it to breathe freely in whatever room or area we are currently standing in.
To be fair, there are a lot of reasons why people DON’T take their Switch out of the dock and play it as a handheld. I have SEVERAL, and most of them happen to be my little toddler that seems to think everything in the home is meant to be used as a teether as well as something to simply toss on the floor when it is no longer entertaining. Neither of which is terribly good for my Nintendo Switch. A huge part of the reason it stays in the dock is because it is SAFER there… safe from being dropped, having something spilled on it, or just generally being touched by other people’s hands. Personally, I would have preferred a Switch upgrade that makes my preferred gaming experience better… which tends to happen in the privacy of my own home, and specifically from the comfort of my COUCH.
If we are being honest with ourselves, that is pretty similar to the way we can tend to approach sharing our faith in this day and age. It can feel a bit “unsafe” to carry our “light” with us wherever we go, and it is ever so much more comfortable to engage from the privacy and comfort of our homes, churches, or other “safe” places. But the gift of Christ’s love is not only DESIGNED to be a handheld that we carry with us everywhere we go, it REQUIRES sharing, as we see in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25…
Matthew 25:14-18 For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.
Let’s paint the picture… Jesus is using this parable to describe the kingdom of heaven, and specifically “servants” of this “man”. These were people under his employ who he entrusted specific gifts and assets to be used for the purposes of growing his kingdom. Two of the servants went out and used what they were given and DOUBLED their return on investment. But one of the servants not only failed to do anything with what they were given… he HID it. I think we are all getting the idea that this is NOT a good plan. But before we get to him, let’s see what happened to the first two servants…
Matthew 25:19-23 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. To he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
I like the sound of that… and if you aren’t picking up on the analogy yet, this is clearly an allegorical version of the accounting each of us will give when we stand before our Creator and explain what we did with the gifts and talents He gave us. So… what about the servant who decided they didn’t want to take the risk and simply buried what they were given?
Matthew 25:24-30 Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
This is a tough passage to read… but before we try to make sense of this I want to make special note of one particular sentence this servant said in response to his misuse of what he was given…
Matthew 25:25 I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.
We were not given the gift of Christ merely for the purposes of absorption and personal gratification. The good news of salvation and redemption is designed to be SHARED, using whatever gifts and talents we were provided. Some were given more, and others were given less… but ALL of us share in the command of the Lord that we commonly call the “Great Commission”… to go and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19-20). But now we are about to get very real and cut to the core of the issue, and this may make us feel a little uncomfortable. We have MORE opportunity to share information in our current era of time than at any other point in human history… more than Paul, Peter, or the rest of the apostles COMBINED. Sure, the internet and social media can be a dangerous and unsafe place, but so is ANY battlefield. And on this battlefield for souls, we have a greater capacity for reaching people around the entire world with the love of Christ than we have EVER had before.
With all of the technological advancements in communication provided by media in EVERY format, whether we prefer the spoken word, written word, video content, music, art…. there has never been an easier time to reach out to others and share the love, joy, grace, peace, and forgiveness that can only be found in Christ. And this only works if we are prepared to get a little uncomfortable and step outside of our comfort zones. Similar to how Nintendo is releasing the brightest and most powerful version of the Switch that ONLY works when it is taken out of the dock and placed on display, our faith is pretty useless unless we pull it out of the dock, dust it off, take it with us wherever we go, and place it in a position for ALL to see. Yes, it may get bumped, scuffed, and even damaged through sharing it. But this truth was MADE to travel, and if we don’t allow that light to shine it doesn’t serve any purpose at all.
Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
You may have a small network of friends and family, or you may have thousands. You may have received a plethora of talents across multiple areas, or you may have received one seemingly small but CRITICALLY significant gift to use for His glory. The mission is the same for all of us, wherever we are, and with whatever talents we have been given… shine the LIGHT. Can it be a bit frightening? Of course it is. Rejection, isolation, persecution… you name it, we may face it. But the world wasn’t exactly a safe place for Christ and His followers throughout the New Testament, either. They were consistently on the run and most (including Christ Himself) were eventually put to death. But we cannot allow that fear to cause us to bury our talent in the dirt like the unfaithful servant from the story. One day each of us will stand before the Lord and give a reckoning for the dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people we were connected with during our time working for His Kingdom down here. On that day He is not going to care about how many “followers” we had… He is going to ask us if we used the talents He gave us to gain followers for HIM.
If you are reading this, odds are that somebody is ‘following” you in some form or fashion. The amount of followers, whether they are many or few, is not significant. All that will matter is did we choose to use our platform to shine the light towards Him, or did we keep it hidden and safe in the dock at home? We all have followers… what are we leading them towards? Let’s flip the “Switch” today and pull our “Light” out of the safety of the dock at home and shine it brightly in everywhere that it can be seen… use your art, your songs, your poetry, your words, your deeds, and any other talent you have received on whatever platform you possess to shine His light in a world that needs it now more than ever.
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