Playing Catch

PRINCIPLE: “For best results, start throwing.”

Sometimes television ads are good – really good. One such ad that caught my attention featured a dad teaching his son to throw a baseball. As the camera eventually zoomed in on the dad, we see that he is actually throwing awkwardly off the wrong foot, which his son, of course, mimics. The point of the ad, I believe, was to commend the dad for spending time with his son. Dad may not have had everything decent and in order and may not have been throwing correctly, but his son knew he was loved because dad was spending time with him.

Anytime the ad played I stopped what I was doing to watch – not only because it was heart-warming but because it got me thinking. My mind began to catch a glimpse of what God wants from us in our relationship with Him – our presence and focused attention. Just take the time to be with Him. Get in the presence of God. Pick up a ball and start throwing. “For best results, start throwing.”

When we do we will, first, find rest and peace. Isaiah wrote of it this way (30: 18-19) Yet the Lordlongs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.For the Lordis a God of justice.Blessed are all who wait for him!People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.”The Psalmist, similarly, wrote (Ps. 92: 12-14) “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green.” John Ortberg1once asked the late Dallas Willard, a great coach and mentor of Spiritual Disciplines, how he monitored the condition of his soul. He replied that he regularly asked himself two questions: “Am I growing more or less irritated these days? Am I growing more or less easily discouraged these days?” How would you answer? “For best results, start throwing.”

Not only will we find rest and peace, but, second, we will be loving and honoring God. If we love someone, we give them gifts. A husband, for example, gives flowers to his wife. Taking time for God throughout the day is like bringing fresh flowers of love to God. It lets Him know we are thinking of Him and love Him. That honors Him. Too often, I think, we give up on spending time with God because we fear we are not ‘doing it right,’ or we’re ‘not getting anything out of it.’ But our daily disciplines are not so much a matter of doing everything right and on time all the time as they are an expression of love for Jesus as we spend some time with Him. Time spent with God doesn’t always need to ‘do something’ for us; it will always, however, do something to God. He is honored by our efforts.“For best results, start throwing.” It expresses love and brings honor to God.

The verse that has become precious to me in recent years precedes the verse sfrom Isaiah referred to earlier. 30: 15 says, In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Notice the very next words: “…but you would have none of it.” We have a choice – reject God’s provision for rest and strength and struggle through our circumstances and situations, or build salvation and strength for our circumstances and situations. The choice is up to each of us. I just want you to know – either choice is dangerous. To reject God’s provision is to distance yourself from Him and miss all the benefits He offers; to pick up the ball and start throwing will leave you wanting to spend even more time with Him. Which danger would you rather face? “For best results, start throwing.”

1John Ortberg, ‘Your Spiritual Growth Plan’, Leadership Journal, Winter 2010, p.81ter 2010, p.81

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