Monday, June 20, 2011

The Bat Boy

It had been an exciting afternoon. It was my first trip to TD Ameritrade Park to see the very first game ever played there in the College World Series. Vanderbilt and North Carolina were locking horns trying to win to advance in the series. Players were playing hard. The game had started a little slowly but it had gotten interesting when I noticed him.
He looked like a miniature player for Vanderbilt. It was a young boy wearing a Vanderbilt uniform. He stood in the entrance of the dugout entranced in the game. On his back wasn't a number, but BB standing for Bat Boy. When a player would hit the ball and run out his hit, this young man would sprint (and I don't think that's too strong a word) to recover the bat and put it in its proper cubby hole in the dugout. When a foul ball was hit back toward the screen, he ran as hard as he could to retrieve the ball. The ball park had employed a young lady to collect all the foul balls. But it seemed as if this young man was on a mission to get the ball before she could hardly get out of her place.
He had no influence on the outcome of the game. The players virtually ignored him. The bats and helmets seemed supersized to this little boy. But he did everything with such enthusiasm, with such vigor, with such pride. I wonder if he received any credit from the team. Did anyone encourage him as he conducted his duties? Was he truly appreciated for picking up after the players? Basically what I saw was a servant.
Jesus said no servant is above his master. In describing a judgment scene, God is portrayed as saying to those who have been given entrance into heaven as, "Well done, good and faithful.....servant." Jesus got on his knees and washed the apostles feet, a task that was generally reserved for the household servant.
Servants seemingly get no credit, are often overlooked, and rarely acknowledged as valuable. But I would dare say that God has His eyes on those who make themselves servants. Because it's in serving that we find our place, our mission. And wouldn't you want to be noticed by the One who rewards those who are noticed by no one else? Kind of like that young man who was the Bat Boy. I hope you have a wonderful day. JW

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Why Are We Afraid of Grace?

Paul is very plain. He doesn't mince words....and he rarely did anyway. He was a straight shooter with many years of experience. He had been misunderstood before and mistreated and mis (you fill in the blank...he was). But there is no misunderstanding this statement. In Ephesians 2:4, 5, Paul says, "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved." And so there's no misunderstanding, he says it again in vs. 8 and 9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast."
Now I see people all the time having to explain it. "Now you have to have the whole story. You have to get the entire picture." They go on to explain that Paul doesn't really mean that, he means there is more. I understand to an extent what they are saying. Paul says that God's grace is not without effect. But we are still saved by grace. What are we afraid of? Why can't we just accept that? Why can't we just take God, take Jesus, take Paul at face value? We will never be able to earn, or be worthy, or do anything that will make us deserve God's grace. Never.
Dear God, thank you for your grace. I want to accept it. I want it to change me. Help me to never take it for granted or use it as "cheap grace." But Father, help me to bask in your grace and not to be afraid to call it what it is....unmerited favor. In Jesus name, Amen! Have a great day! JW