enjoy the game

i saw a picture tonight of the spiritual life.  most of the pictures that i see come in the strangest of places and this one is no different.  he stood on third base.  he was just under three feet tall.  the number on the back of his jersey was 0, but his name was Zac.  i know his name not because i’m close personal friends with the family but because every few minutes someone was yelling at him, “Zac, put your hat on,” or “Zac, pick up your glove,” or “Zac, you aren’t supposed to tackle the runner!”  don’t get me wrong, these weren’t malicious comments in any way.  these were folks in the crowd that were trying to get Zac to play t-ball the “right” way.  they were his coaches, his parents, his friends, and others that were cheering for his team that were trying to get Zac to conform to the rules of the game.


truthfully, i’ve felt a lot like Zac when it comes to the spiritual life.  i think i’m in the game.  i think things are working out just fine.  i’ll just take my hat off for a while and sit here on the base, thank you very much!  but for some reason, there are these voices that keep reminding me that i’m not playing the game right.  “You have to stand up straight!”  “Hold your head this way!”  “Don’t tackle the runner!”  and while i know that their words aren’t necessarily malicious (although some have been through the years), they seem to take the fun out of the game. 


i know that my struggle (and Zac’s) is not one that we face alone.  people have been trying to get guys like us to “straignten up and act right” since the beginning.  they even did the same thing to Jesus during his tenure on third base!  Jesus didn’t comply with the religious rules of his day and time.  he healed on the sabbath, he claimed to be equal with God, and he was even known to hang out with the drunks and the prostitues.  he obviously didn’t understand the rules of the game.  so the religious leaders of his day came along and tried to coach him.  they questioned him over and over, “Jesus, what are you thinking out there?  Do you know what you’re doing?  Get your head in the game, Jesus!”  but Jesus continued to play the game by a different set of rules.  just like me and Zac.


truth be told, i think Zac had a great game tonight!  he learned that if you put you’re glove over your face you can walk around and pretend to be a monster.  he learned every bug that lived in the three feet around third base.  and best of all, he learned that even though he didn’t play the game exactly the way everyone else thought he should play it — he still got snacks at the end!  that’s the great thing about t-ball — everone wins.  the point is not performance.  the point is being in the game and enjoying yourself. 


thanks, Zac…for a great picture of the spiritual life.  thanks, Jesus…for loving me in spite of the way that i play the game (and for saving a snack for me when i get home).


Enjoy the Journey!

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~ by Chris Green on July 9, 2004.

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