Tuesday, June 3, 2008

You Must Love Baseball!

Okay, so our family is pretty big into baseball, softball and any other game with a ball and bases. Last week I built a batting cage in our yard. Nothing major, just a sixty by ten foot net over a bed of mulch suspended by a large frame. I have a couple pitching machines coming in the mail so I can get out of pitching duties.

After we got it up, the neighborhood kids were dying to try it out. One of the kids just smiled really big, and said, "You guys must really love baseball!" I said we like it a lot. My wife played shortstop at the University of Dayton and her brother played baseball at Valparaiso University, so it kind of runs in the family. Her family. It doesn't run in my family. My experience with baseball before meeting my wife consisted of a year of t-ball outfield spent picking dandelions. What else is there to do in t-ball outfield? My dad must have decided I'd be a better florist than slugger because I don't remember playing any more little league after that.

But something happened when I met Amanda in college. She was playing softball, so I started going to her games. I thought it was pretty cool. As my love for her grew, my love for the things she loved grew. So naturally I developed a strong love for baseball. I can sit and watch it for hours, though that never happens. But I could if I allowed myself.

Now our oldest boy loves baseball, and all our girls love softball, and my two-year old boy is already swinging his little plastic bat and throwing his plastic ball around the house. Other kids can't help but see that while they're investing their time in video games, our kids are hitting balls. What's the point of this? Glad you asked.

Point number one - When we love someone, we can't help but develop a love for the things they love. I couldn't care less about baseball before I started loving Amanda. But now, I love it too. The same thing happens with God. Before I developed a love for God (because he first loved me), I couldn't care less about what he cares about. Now, I have developed a love for the things he loves - righteousness, love for neighbor, humility, perseverance, Christ-centeredness, the Bible, the fellowship of the church, justice, Heaven.

Point number two - When we love something, it shows. I couldn't hide the fact that our family loves baseball when the batting cage went up. The little boy knew we love baseball without my even having to say it. He knew because of our priorities. Some people have swingsets and sandboxes. We have pitching machines. The same is true with God. When we love God, truly love God, it has to show. Someone should be able to look at our lives, our priorities, and say, "You must really love God!" That little boy reminded me of some pretty important truths that day. If we love God, we can't help but love the things God loves; and if we love God, that love can't help but break out for the world to see.

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