When Winston was four we forced him to play t-ball in the summer, not to be athletic, but to help build his social skills. He just finished pre-K and we saw that he needed some help coming out of his shell around other kids. So we wanted him to be interacting with other kids on into the summer.
It didn’t take us long to see that t-ball wasn’t for him, but the social interaction was priceless.
The next year we told him we wouldn’t make him play. But later he found out some kids in his class were on a team and he wanted to play with them. We asked if he was sure he wanted to play and he said he was, so we signed him up.
About half way through the season we noticed Winston was playing less and less in the games even though our coaches had an “everyone gets to play” philosophy.
So then it kind of came to a head in one game when Winston played one inning then was never back in there. His momma saw all the other kids rotating in and out but no Winston. Finally she had enough, and you know what that means. Yep, Momma had her fill, so she sent Dad to the dugout to see what the deal was.
Yes, if you are a male and not married or you are and jyust a slow learner this is this how it works. When this situation happens I urge to go and take care of the situation yourself because if momma has to go it will not be pretty. That’s her baby regardless of the age.
Anyway, I went to the dugout between the next inning to observe and was very surprised.
To set it up for you, there is Winston sitting on the bench, Dixie cup of water in hand, with the other extra kids waiting to be told whether or not to go out by the coach who is standing there in front of them.
Coach “Okay Winston get your glove on and head to left field.”
Winston “Nah, coach that’s okay!” “Send Susie back in I’m okay right here.”
WHAT! It wasn’t the coach that wasn’t putting Winston in. It was Winston who wasn’t putting Winston in.
You see Winston was doing something because all the other kids were doing it but it wasn’t something he really believed in.
I thought of this story after Romans 14:23 (Message) worked on my heart this week.
Paul says, “If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong”
We do this when we refuse to mix our everyday life and church life and in our church life alone. Sort that out for a minute.
In the workplace we allow life outside of going to church override what we believe spiritually because our job pays good so we’re willing to sacrifice our beliefs or we don’t want our coworkers to think we’re a religious weirdo. Why do we not see it one seamless life and our workplace is our mission field?
In our churches we continue to go to a certain place, continue a certain routine, worship a certain way, be involved in certain activities – going through the motions though we know in our heart of hearts God is calling us to something else? It’s not that the places we are going and things we are doing are wrong, but it’s not consistent with what we believe. It’s not consistent with what God has laid on our heart and what He is calling us to do. Maybe He’s calling you to start up something He’s pressed upon you where you are at or maybe there is somewhere else that could use your gift or passion to expand God’s kingdom. After all that is the goal, not the ritual, but getting as many people into His kingdom as possible.
You see, there was nothing wrong with Winston’s t-ball team, the coaches, or the kids, or the league. It was exactly right for 95% of the kids, but it was wrong for Winston because it’s not what he believed in. If he were to have chosen that summer to be honing his golf skills or Cub Scout activities, which are his passion, now he would have flourished.
Think about your life this week. What are you doing or involved in that doesn’t line up to what you believe in just because you worry about what people will think or because that’s the way you’ve always done it? Pray that God will give you the insight to see and courage to change and answer His calling for you.
A year or so later one of our close friends asked Winston, “Don’t you want to play on this soccer team your friend is on there” Winston replied, “You know, sports just isn’t my thing.”