Sunday, April 29, 2007

The bunt that became a home run!

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: 2 Kings 4-5; Psalm 73

2 Kings 4:1-2 (NIV)
1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” 2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a little oil.”

Psalm 73:23-26 (NIV)
23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand,
24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Good morning!

Do you possess a childlike faith? Jeff and I sat with our daughter and son-in-law at the baseball field Friday evening near Barnhart, Missouri, watching our grandson Joshua play his very first t-ball game. How the memories of all those softball games from years before flooded my memory. I cannot tell you how many games we sat at, watching our children play softball. I was never coordinated enough to manage the bat. I rarely hit the ball, but the catcher behind me took his life into his hands every time I came to the plate. I decided this was definitely not my spiritual gift, certainly not a tangible, physical gift either. I was better off on the bleachers cheering on my team. It’s much safer there for everyone, trust me.

Ironically, there was no stand for the ball. One of the coaches pitched to each player. Joshua had fourteen children on his team that night, and the outfield was an interesting sight. Joshua stood just behind the second baseman. I leaned over and asked our daughter Rachel if Joshua was playing shortstop. She said, “with all the children on the field right now, who can tell for sure?” Joshua sported his black baseball cap and a brand new mit that his father had given him as a gift. He proudly wore his team's t-shirt. “Now there is boy on a mission,” I thought to myself, while digging my heels into the dirt and feeling much older than I thought I should be. “I’m watching my grandson play t-ball.” Rachel and I shared a box of Kleenex and we managed to drown our tears in a salty pretzel. She has a good excuse for crying. After all, she is very pregnant and hormonal. Little Emily sat on my lap and chatted in babbling, three-year old lingo. Grandchildren are just so much fun that I guess its worth the sacrifice of aging simply to experience their zest for life.

The challenging team was winning. Our outfield needed a little extra help from above. Fortunately, in t-ball rules, once everyone has had a chance to bat, it’s time to switch sides! This was a lucky break for our ball players. Joshua was last on the batting rotation. He was the man of the hour, as he took his spot at home plate. Joshua strutted to the plate with a quiet confidence and a cute little grin on his face. I could tell he was proud to be there. Another nice thing about t-ball is that if you get three strikes, its okay, because you can keep swinging until you finally hit the ball. Now, that’s my kind of ball game! Joshua kept swinging, bless his little heart – he just didn’t give up. And then it happened. He laid a perfect bunt down just in front of the first baseman. “Run, Joshua, run,” we screamed. He began to take the bases, one by one, not looking back to see where the ball was. Joshua was determined to make it back to home plate no matter what. “Slide, Joshua, slide!” we cried out to him. It was a surreal moment as we watched that boy step on home plate for the very first time. His bunt became a home run, and we laughed and clapped and cheered him on Joshua watched his family act like crazy people that night as he stood on the plate, grinning from ear to ear.

It must have taken childlike faith for the widow to prepare jars of oil that day. She had lost everything she had, her husband and her role in the culture in which she lived. She was about to lose her house to the creditors and knew they would take her sons away in payment for her debt. She had nothing left to give except a little oil and her heart. Elisha told the woman to ask her neighbors for help. She needed every jar she could find. Willingly, and without question, the woman and her sons collected as many jars as they could find. Even though she only had a little oil, the Lord saw her need and reveled in her faith, and that faith produced enough oil to fill every single jar in her home. With God’s help, we too can score a home run with just a little bunt and a lot of faith. Won’t you take some time today to thank God for the gifts He has given you. Maybe you feel a little inadequate, like I do, when I’m up to bat. With the help of Christ, He can take what little talent we possess, and turn it into a faith-filled victory for His kingdom, if we are just willing to trust Him enough to do it.

Batter up! It’s time for you to bunt.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: faith and courage to share Jesus Christ with the world. He can take whatever you have to give, and multiply it for Kingdom work, if you trust Him completely. Will you step into the batter’s box today?
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