Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Parable of a Parable . . . at the Ball Park!

Sunday night Chris and I took the girls to a Nashville Sounds game. (The Nashville Sounds are our minor league team - a farm team for the Milwaukee Brewers.) We had the best time! We had GREAT seats - second row right behind the Sounds' dugout. It was so close! It was also autograph night where the kids (and kids at heart :o) ) could bring their paraphernalia and get it signed by most if not all of the players. Ali and Livi ate this up! They loved being so close to the big boys! It was a gorgeous summer night. We could hear the CRACK of the ball on the bat, the SMACK of the ball into a glove. Of course, ball diamond food is worth the price of admission alone. I mean is there a place in this world where a hot dog tastes better??? The Sounds played an excellent game, had beautiful plays, and won 14-5! Everything was as perfect as it could be, but . . .

There was a man sitting right in front of us that bumped our experience up one more notch. We don't even know this man's name, but he wore a jersy with the word EXTREME on the back so we just called him Mr. Extreme, and he seemed to be totally cool with this. Well, Mr. Extreme was a very friendly guy. He seemed to know every player. He got them to come to him to get autographs. Of course Ali and Livi loved that because they'd get their little programs out and lean over to get more autographs than they already had! I think some of the players actually signed twice. *Shrug* It was fun. Anyway, we are a pretty friendly family so we were getting along well with Mr. Extreme.

Well, a couple innings into the game, our Sounds were in the outfield (which wasn't that far away from us as we were in the 2nd row and Mr. Extreme was in the first row) and our third baseman made a play (I think he chased down a fould ball, though I can't remember) and he did what all of the fans love. He tossed the ball into the stands . . . right at Mr. Extreme. When I got over the shock because for a split second I saw a ball coming right for my head, I was overcome with appreciation because Mr. Extreme, without hesitating, turned around and gave the ball to my girls! Do you know that just a few innings later, the EXACT same thing happened??? A player tossed him the ball and he turned around and gave it to my girls so that when we left that game BOTH Ali and Livi had a GAME BALL! Of course, we thanked him and he just smiled his goofy, happy smile. But I got to thinking, there's a lesson to be learned here.

The lesson I came up with? Let me bring to your memory the Parable of the Rich Fool. Luke 12:16-21 says, "Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.' But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

If you let your imagination take a little walk with me, you'll see that Mr. Extreme was NOT like the greedy, rich man. He did NOT lay up those treasured game balls for himself. He gave them away and caused "extreme" happiness when he did so. As Christians, we MUST be like Mr. Extreme. We must learn Scripture like Mr. Extreme learned the players so that when we have an opportunity tossed at us, we can give away a little piece of Heaven. How much more happiness would it cause for a nonbeliever to enter the gates of Heaven just because we did NOT lay up the treasure for ourselves, but shared the best gift we've ever received?! I don't want to keep the love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, all to myself. I want everyone to know what He did for me and all of humanity. I want to be like Mr. Extreme and just . . . give it away.

This is where I have gotten stuck for two nights in a row because this computer has frozen up on me. I want to update you on our list of prayer concerns and I will on another night. For now I'm going to add two new urgent requests and I will make some changes to the list of prayer concerns.

PRAYER REQUESTS: Please pray mightily for Cathy Sue Hodges, who has been diagnosed with cancer in several areas of her body. Pray for complete and total healing. Pray for the strength she'll need to make it through the days ahead. Pray for peace and hope and comfort for her and her family. Pray for her doctors to have wisdom and know exactly how to treat this cancer. We know that our God is bigger than any illness, that there is NOTHING too big for our God to handle. I pray that faith in Him is strengthed through this and that Cathy and her family will use this sweet time to bond together comforting each other and the Lord comforts them.

I also ask you to pray for the family of Linda Schafer. Linda and her family attended the church that I grew up in. I was friends with her daughters, Melissa, Robin, and Becky. Sadly, sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning, 54-year-old Linda very suddenly passed away. Please pray for her husband, Don, and her three daughters. Also pray for her mother Laureen. Pray that they can find hope in God's promises and that through that hope their broken hearts will gradually heal. Pray for them not just today and tomorrow but in the weeks and months ahead when life just keeps moving on and they have no choice but to move on with it, though they may still be so deeply grieved inside that it hurts to think of one more minute without Linda. Pray that they find the strength in themselves, in their faith, and in each other to keep pressing on until the day comes when they can see Linda again.

I'm going to post this before I lose it again. As I said I will post the updates soon. Until then . . .

"Extreme" blessings to you and yours,

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