I’ve been to Fourth of July celebrations a few times now but apart from that I have never attended an event as uniquely American as the opening ceremony of our kids’ little league baseball season.
The teams in their uniforms, cheering parents, the color guard, the anthem sung by a brave volunteer, the ceremonial first pitch (by the fire chief to his 5 year old granddaughter – she caught it!), the hot dogs (and nacho’s) the helmets and bats hanging from the fences, the pure excitement and fervor of the young players and their over-the-hill fathers were all eye-openers for me.
Looking at the calendar for the next few months, I see two games and a practice each week plus the opening ceremony, closing ceremony and five or six weekend fundraisers – and we all paid for the privilege.
I know plenty of good Christian folk who get involved in this every year, plus the regular dance/gymnastics/karate classes and then move on to basketball, swimming and any other sports they can find.
I don’t have any problem with that, none at all… I just wonder what the world would be like if we put as much passion, time and commitment into our faith as we do our kids’ sports?
The parents who were at the ballpark this Saturday have committed themselves to three nights a week plus almost every Saturday and have been all too willing to fork out around a hundred dollars of their own money to do it.
How many of us are willing to give three nights a week plus our Saturdays to the work of the Church – and then give money out of our own pockets to fund it (apart from the tithe that our pastors convince us we’re supposed to give)?
Could you find the time to give three nights a week to do outreach or feed the homeless or visit the sick and housebound or do any of the myriad other things that God might call us to do?
I don’t know many people who can.
Yet I know a whole bunch of people who can find the time when it has to do with their children’s sports and leisure activities.
Faith vs Family
There are several dichotomies in the bible and one of them is the differing ideas of having a responsibility to your family and yet being willing to give everything up for God.
The Apostle Paul tells us that a leader in the Church should demonstrate his/her ability to lead by leading their own family well. Yet Jesus called the disciples telling them to leave their nets and follow him (some of these men we know were married). He then took them out away from their families, often for days at a time and led them into a faith that would result in them being imprisoned, persecuted and even put to death.
Finding a balance between being there for our families and doing what God calls us to do can be very hard – especially in a culture which clearly defines what a ‘good’ upbringing entails.
There is immense pressure to give our children the right clothes, toys, electronics, bikes, extra-curricular activities and wonderful childhood memories.
How can we ever do all of those things and still have time to give to God?
No Easy Answer
I wish there was an easy answer to all this.
I wish that we could give all of those experiences to our children and still have equal amounts of time (and equal amounts of fervor) to put into our work for God.
There are no easy, all-encompassing answers though because we are all created uniquely, gifted uniquely and called uniquely.
What we have to remember to do is to put God FIRST. To talk with him and listen to him about what he wants us to do.
We have to be willing to both give up things like little-league to do what he is calling us to do and equally we have to be prepared to enroll our kids in little league, if that’s how God directs us.
Whatever he calls us to do, we must never forget that we are his ambassadors 24/7 and whether we are serving dinner to the homeless or yelling at the referees over the biased calls they just made, we are representing Christ and the Kingdom of heaven.
Watching a bunch of four and five year olds hitting everything but the ball on the t-ball stand we have every bit as much opportunity to be witnesses for the hope that is within us as we have when we’re visiting the sick or imprisoned.
How do you find a balance between Church and Family?
How do you manage to witness for Christ in your every day life?