Baseball Illustration – Running the Wrong Way

A few weeks ago I was able to attend a youth baseball game with my family.  We were cheering on one of our students that will be in 7th grade next year.  It was a great opportunity to show our support for him and his family…and then it happened…

Picture this.  The home team had been down the whole game, and they were mounting a comeback.  There was only one out, and there were runners on 2nd and 3rd.  The batter stepped in for the pitch.  “Ball four, take your base”, the umpire yelled.  The coach on 3rd claps his hands, and says “At a boy, hustle on down there”.  The player on 1st, who had limited baseball experience, took the coach’s advice.  He hustled to home.  The only problem was the catcher still had the ball, and he was tagged out easily.  The coach (with visible steam coming out of his ears) wisely did not say a word, but his face said it all.  The mom of the boy (she was sitting in front of me) asked me what happened.  I told her.  She said with sympathy and believability, “Oh OK, it was a miscommunication.  This is a learning experience.”  Probably knowing she would have to console her son after the game.

stealinghome2Why do I tell you this heartbreaking story?  Well, the mom was right, this is a learning experience.  You see, we listen to the wrong instruction all the time, thinking it is for us.  We fall into the trap of what the world labels as success, whether it is money, fame, prestige, title, or possessions.  We run towards those.  Yes you do.  You don’t?  You mind if I check your credit card statement?  Can I follow you around for a week and journal how you spend your time?

I’ve mentioned this on my blog before; one of my biggest fears is that I would waste my life.  That I would run towards things that have no value.  As Francis Chan said in Crazy Love, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” And everything in me does not want my life to be a road to nowhere… Let me give you a few examples of those things we run towards from a sermon a few weeks ago…

Is it lust?  Where it takes you to places that will shock you and leave you lost on a road to more destruction?

Is it worldly gain?  Money, career success…You keep on that road, you will be shocked you were on a road to unfulfillment and never-ending toil.

Is it approval/love from others?  You think you are doing everything right, but you are shocked all this time it was for the wrong reasons and you were on a road to a shallowness and frivolity.

I don’t want my life to be a baffling mistake, and when it is time to go home, my coach in heaven looks at me with disappointment.  On the contrary, I want to cross home plate knowing I did everything I could for the glory of God and to spread the Gospel and love of Jesus to others.  Let all of us strive to NEVER be an easy out, and to cross home with our coach saying “well done”.

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