Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spiritual Lessons from Baseball, Part 3

We absolutely love the watching our kids play ball. That's not to say the season doesn't get a little frustrating at times - it gets hot, the schedule seems to change frequently (especially this year in the recreational league), etc.  The most frustrating part of having three kids playing baseball on four different teams is having to constantly make decisions about what you're going to miss, and what the kids are going to miss.

For example, one of Jacob's games fell on the same night as an end of the year school program. One of Caleb's games was on the same night as the meeting for kids who wanted to play an instrument in band next year. Jake's had to miss games for one team to be at games for the other. (So far, Luke's social calendar includes baseball only, so not too many conflicts for the five year old).

These decisions are hard to make...Jake is committed to both teams. He hates to shaft one for the other. He's committed to his school and class, so hates to miss something there. Caleb loves his team and hated to miss a game to do the band stuff. But sometimes you are left with impossible situations - you aren't choosing between good and bad, but between good and good. You have competing commitments.

To me, this is just a small illustration of one of the big challenges of living the Christian life outside of Eden. Think about all the things that compete for your time, money, energy, etc. Most of them are pretty good. For example, how much time should you give to Bible studies, small groups, church services, etc. Lots? But in doing so you are cutting down on the time you can spend in the community, forging relationships, being salt and light, etc. Hmmm. On the other hand, if you short change your own spiritual growth and the church, will you loose your saltiness? Or take money for instance...should you give to the missionary who asks for support, or to the youth missions trip, or the relief agency in town?

Few of us will ever likely find ourselves in the situation Rahab did when she was forced to lie to protect the Israelite spies - a situation where to commitments/values came into sharp conflict. We are to value life and truth. But, in a broken world, we will often be forced to to make tough decisions about which values and commitments will trump others. Will we be a good employee even when our boss requires us to lie? Will we honor our parents when they demand we act dishonorably? Etc.

Frankly, we just aren't wise enough to see our way clear of a lot of these situations. Yet. We'll make mistakes, poor evaluations...we'll sin even when we're trying to do good. Thank God for his patience and grace. Thank God that he will eventually put the world to right so these situations will no longer ensnare us.

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