Even if it is not a video game that you are playing, there is a good chance that you have heard of Fortnite. Fortnite has shaped up to be one of the biggest video games in the past couple of years. The game has really found an audience with younger players. Teenagers,especially Jr. High students, seem to be playing Fortnite en masse.
If you are not familiar with the game, Fortnite is a battle royale game. Up to 100 people deploy (by jumping out of a flying bus) onto an island. Players are in small squads, and the goal is to be the last squad left standing. Players enter the island with only a pickax. They will need to find weapons and other essential items. They can also use their pickax to destroy things for material that can be used to build forts and other structures. During the game a “storm” envelopes the island forcing the surviving players to get into closer and closer proximity to one another. When a player is eliminated they are out of the game. That is normally not a big deal because jumping into queue to get back on the flying bus for the next game is quick and easy. The core concept and the appeal of Fortnite is arriving on an island with almost nothing and then needing to find everything needed to survive and thrive.
I doubt the Bible is what inspired Epic Games, but there is a similar concept to Fortnite found in the gospels. The gospel of Luke records two separate instances where Jesus sent his followers out. The first time (Luke 9:1-6) Jesus sent out his twelve disciples and the second time (Luke 10:1-17) he sent out a larger group of seventy-two.
In both instances those sent started off like players start in Fortnite. Jesus intentionally tells his disciples in both instances to journey out with “no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.” In Fortnite the players have a goal to be the last one left in the game and be declare the “Victor Royale.” Likewise, Jesus did not send the disciples off aimless. They were sent with a goal to proclaim the good news and share God’s love in words and deeds.
For most Fortnite players, one of the essential elements of winning is relying on one’s teammates. Working as a team, reviving one another, and supporting one another is a key to success. It seems Jesus also realized this, because when Jesus sent out the seventy-two he specifically sent them in pairs. Just like in Fortnite there was wisdom in going together. By having a partner, the followers of Jesus had someone else they could rely on, they had some who could encourage them, and they had someone to help them accomplish what they could not on their own.
Most people (read: parents) see games like Fortnite as a frivolous waste of time, but there are some life and faith lessons that exist in the game. Just like in Fortnite and with the disciples in Jesus day, the followers of Jesus today are meant to be sent out into the world. Followers of Christ are not supposed to huddle in our sanctuaries, but the world is to be our mission field. Often seeking to share the love of God with the world around us can feel a lot like jumping off a flying bus. We enter the greater world disoriented, not always equipped for the task at hand, and sometimes under fire. Like in Fortnite, if we are going to survive in this environment then we need teammates with us so that we better follow and know God.
Too often, people view faith as a private and solo endeavor. Instead of going alone we should team up. We should share our faith, our doubts, and our victories with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can support one another with holding each other accountable, and we can encourage one another to make good decisions. As the proverbs state we can be like “iron sharpening iron” so that we mutually increase in our faith, our love for God, and our love for others.
More importantly, just like the disciples Jesus sent out we should work together with fellow believers to spread the gospel. We can work together to meet the needs of others to show them through our actions that God does love them. When we work together to make the world a more loving place then God is glorified and more people come to know Jesus Christ, the ultimate Victor Royale.