Friday, July 03, 2009






Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.


There I sat. Watching a Little League baseball game. Why? That is a good question, but there is a good answer. I had promised our grandson, Nathan, I would attend at least one game. I tried last season, but, every time I could go, it rained and the game was cancelled. Then this season I have been sidelined by surgery and, again, rain. The other night I ran out of excuses. Just so you know. Nathan's team did win and Nathan slid into home plate. That boy sure does love to slide and the holes in the knees of his pants prove it.

It isn't that I don't like to watch the games. It is the parents. Little Johnny or Susie is up to bat and wham, dad and mom kick into super mouth. Yelling and giving instructions louder than the coaches. Swing. Run. Slide. Stay. "What? WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO UMP? SAFE BY A MILE!"

The sad part is that Johnny or Susie was excited to be up to bat. They picked up that bat and swaggered to home plate. Took their place in the batting box. They were ready. They knew they were going to hit it out of the park. Then, strike one.

"Watch the ball." dad yells. Then a ball. Then strike two.

"How many times have we told you to step into the ball?" yells mom. Then strike three.

I hate that time. That is when Johnny or Susie turns away. As they walk out of the batters box, they hang their head. There is no longer a swagger. There is no longer a sparkle in their eyes. They do not want to look at their parents. They know they have let them down - again.

I used to play sand lot ball. Kids getting together at the school diamond to play baseball. Someone would bring a bat. Someone always had a ball. I don't think we all had mitts. We just got together and played. It was fun. If you struck out, your side encouraged you with, "That's okay. Next time." If you hit the ball, your side jumped with glee. One time, I hit the ball through the school window. That game ended quickly and I never told my parents about that.

The thing is we had fun. No parents. No umps. Just kids calling balls and strikes. Changing sides. Playing. You knew you did good when you got a hit, caught the ball or got someone out. You knew you messed up when you struck out, missed that easy catch or threw the ball too low. The difference is, no one yelled at you. No one made you hang your head, loose your swagger or take the sparkle from your eyes.

It seems like kids can't just play a game. Have a good time. Tell each other "See ya tomorrow." Then go home. And tomorrow get together and do it all over again.

Sports are fun. Sports are good for us -- if we are headed in the right direction and after the right prize. 1 Corinthians tells us to "Run in such a way as to get the prize." Then it tells us "we do it to get a crown that will last forever."

We have a coach - God. We have sideline coaches - the angels, the saints and all those that have gone before us. We have the rules - the Bible. We have training - studying the rules and prayer. We have the playing field - our lives.

Batter up. Keep your eye on the ball. Swing. Connect with the ball. HOME RUN!!!!!!!!


Are you ready to play? What games are you playing with your life? Are you running after the crown that will last forever?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


A Coach. Sideline coaches. A Bible. Study and prayer. My life. I am here God. I want to play on your team. Pick me. Pick me. I want to play and I want to win. Be my coach. Teach me the rules. Give me the support of the angels. The saints. Loved ones that are watching over me. As I hit the ball with my life stamped on it, let it be a home run. A solid, over the fence, no question about it, out of the park HOME RUN. A home run that that ends at home plate with you, my coach, taking me in your arms and saying, "Welcome home." Amen

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