What a Rout Teaches Me About the Kingdom of God (Updated)

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Last night, my wife, my boys, and Katilyn went to see my Cincinnati Reds play their archrival, the St. Louis Cardinals. It was a beautiful cool evening at Great American Ball Park where we sat way up (Section 520, Row P) and could see the beautiful Ohio River over the right field wall.

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As for the game itself, it was 9-0 before I could blink– and the Cardinals won 13-3. Daniel’s favorite player, Joey Votto, hit a three-run home run that made his day, but highlights were few for the home team. We left after seven innings to beat traffic.

I started thinking about some issues as I talked with my boys during the game. Daniel is very interested in the game, but David is more interested in watching the people at the game. As seven-year-olds, most of this is new, especially the drubbing the Reds took. But lessons abounded during this game that we would do well to remember:

1. Pull for your team through the highs and lows.

David mentioned that he wasn’t having a good time because the Reds were losing. I told him that we stick with our team no matter what. In baseball terms, I haven’t abided by this. I grew up. Dodgers fan, switched to the Marlins when I got sick of keeping up with late games out West, then switched to the Reds when I got sick of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria for blowing up the team very five minutes.

Churches have highs and lows. In our consumeristic society, it’s all about us. When something doesn’t satisfy us, we bail. When we commit to a body of believers, we commit–as long as they are sticking to the Scriptures and exalting Christ in public and private.

2. Celebrate the wins.

Down 9-0, Joey Votto of the Reds, hit a three-run home run. You would have thought our boys won the World Series. They could have said, “We are still down six runs.” But, no! Their favorite player hit a home run! Fireworks went off! They were still competing!

Celebrate the wins! Someone goes on-mission, a great offering, the Word preached, a baptism, someone goes the extra mile–celebrate it! “Well, that’s only one baptism this month!” Right! Celebrate!

3. Develop community.

The Reds and Cardinal Nations are a strong union. I run into Cardinal and Reds fans in abundance in Colorado. Both were well represented last night at the ball park. Seeing thousands of fans in Reds paraphernalia extended that bond. We felt a connection.

We all were meant for community–we were never meant to be alone. We as believers share something far more significant than a ball team. We are connected by the Spirit of God in Christ into a unity that lasts into eternity. So I can go to Lexington, Cincinnati, Denver, Trinidad & Tobago, or South Africa and I have a connection with believers in Christ that is incomprehensible to the watching world. This aspect is quite attractive to the world that is filled with a cold, hard void.

[Originally written August 3, 2013.]

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