Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pick Only One

This sign is outside of the baseball fields where Nate, my 8 year old, plays ball.  I love it!  It's a great message (especially to todays over-competative parents).  Most of us are the spectators, our job is to show up and cheer our kids on.  We get to celebrate the great plays and encourage them through the tough ones, and that's it.  We don't get to tell the boys how to play the game, when to run or when to slide.  We don't call the outs.  We don't call the strikes.  We are the spectators, we are there to watch.

Some people are the coaches.  They get to decide how their team is going to play the game. They get to teach the boys what position to play, where to throw the ball, and when to run.  But they don't get to call the game, that is the umpires job. 

If your not the umpire, and most people aren't, then you don't get to decide if someone is out or safe, if the pitch was a ball or a strike.  It's not your call, that's the umps job.  

This sign is a reminder every time you walk into the ball fields that you have to make a choice.  And you can choose only one.  Who are you going to be?

Last night this sign reminded me of another choice I have been given.  When Jesus walked the Earth people flocked to him just like we flock to the baseball diamonds today.  And the people that surrounded him fit into one of 3 different categories, but only one.

First there were the pharisees.  These were the people who neither needed Jesus, believed in Jesus nor respected Jesus.  Though they had been taught all their lives to look for the coming messiah, they were so pleased with how they were living their lives, and confident that they had all the answers, that they missed him completely.  Nobody wants to be a pharisee, but make no mistake about it, they are still out there today.  They may go by a different name but there are still plenty of people who believe that THEY have all the answers and have no need or desire to follow some one else.

On the complete other end of the spectrum were the disciples.  These people LOVED Jesus, they believed in Jesus and not only followed where he went but DID WHAT HE SAID.  Yes, they made mistakes, there were times that they doubted, there were times they were prideful.  They didn't always get it right.  But for the most part, they gave up their old life for a life with Jesus, lived His way.  There are still disciples here today.  People who would rather live the life Jesus has planned for them then the life our culture desires.  There are a few who have given up their "old life" for a new life in Christ.  And you can see it, in the choices they make, the words that they say, and the life that they live.

The other group,and for me this is the hardest one, was the crowd.  Have you noticed that everywhere Jesus went there was a crowd around him?  The crowd followed him everywhere and many of them became disciples, but some of them, just stayed "the crowd".  The crowd listened to him, like what he said and the promises he made.  But they didn't "follow" him, not really.  There was no life change, they didn't look or do anything differently after hearing his words.  The listened to a good message, then went home and did the same thing they always did.  They were just the crowd.  And there is nothing special about the crowd.  There is a pretty big crowd around us today.  People who like the stories and the promises but just aren't willing to make the sacrifices.  They spend their life in the crowd, missing out.  Just watching.

Today you have a choice to make.  Which one are you going to be?  You can be the pharisee, you can be the disciple or you can be the crowd.  But you can pick only one.