This is the 8th of a series of 15 devotionals from the late 80s when my oldest sons were just little boys …
We have reached another milestone in our family life that again sounds a chime on the ever advancing clock of my own life. Nathan is now a little league ballplayer.
Frankly, this is one of the things that I have most looked forward to as a father of little boys – the day that my guys would begin their athletic careers. And most of you know about my personal theology of baseball – that it was created by God early in the book of Genesis and will appear again in its perfect form in the eternal state. It is God’s favorite game (which is why He does not care that much about what happens to the Cowboys).
Actually, I’ve gotten more than I bargained for this season with Harmony Township T-Ball. A man called and asked if I would be a helper. He called back and asked if I would be an assistant coach. The third time he called, he told me that there were too many kids for one team and I was needed to coach the new second team.
Really, it has been a great experience and a marvelous opportunity to meet many unbelievers. BUT, T-Ball is no place for a connoisseur of the world’s greatest sport. Me watching T-Ball is like Charles Stanley listening to Rodney Dangerfield preach, or like Luciano Pavarotti listening to Johnny Cash attempt to sing “The Marriage of Figaro.”
The typical batter may actually hit the ball on the third or fourth swing. When this happens, coaches and parents from all directions begin yelling orders to their players. Inevitably, the ball goes between the legs of the first defensive player, who has no idea what is happening anyhow because he is standing there thinking about balloons. The second defensive player falls down in front of the ball, stopping its progress somewhere beneath his body. All of the other players (who are not looking longingly at the younger children on the nearby playground equipment) make a dash to be the first to pick up the ball for the throw to first base. However, the winner is unable to muster much of a toss since he is surround by angry players who lost the scramble. As the throw slowly rolls in the general direction of first base, the batter is now heading into third base. No problem however, because the runner at first base when the ball was hit is still there, not realizing that a play is in progress, as he was thinking about flying kites at the beach. As the coaches retrieve the ball and establish order, everyone else congratulates all of the players for their brilliant effort. Sometimes it gets so wild that there is no way to intervene and stop it – you just have to laugh and wait until they are done.
God must look at our actions sometimes and watch us seriously attempt the game of life, only to laugh at our silly plays and futile efforts. I fear that many times in church life we are trying to get the runner at first base when the real play to be made is at third!
Just as it takes time to learn the game of baseball and practice to play it well, so also the Christian life takes time and experience to succeed. The Scriptures say that we should study to show ourselves approved unto God. In baseball talk, this means that we must be a student of the game, learning and applying all that we can so that we strike out less and make fewer errors in the field.
Isn’t that much like our goals in the Christian life – to strike out less and make fewer errors? Let us be students of the game and students of the Book.