I had a great night a few evenings back in several ways. The most obvious is that the Texas Rangers were the victors in one of the most exciting baseball games I have seen in a long time. I was glued to the television for the entire game, wandering into the other room only during commercials, precipitated by pitching changes and inning breaks. When the game was finally decided with a grand slam it was a grand time at our house.
Sharon settled in the leather easy chair in front of the television for the last few innings and watched the game with me. She is patient with my restlessness during a tense game and is very kind not to except much in the way of conversation. Over the years she has developed an appreciation for the game and even a pretty good understanding of some of the finer nuances.
To be honest, Sharon has been much more supportive of my diversions than I have of hers. I think she actually enjoys attending a ballgame occasionally and never hesitates when I want to go but have no other partner. I’m not nearly as accommodating when it comes to musicals and live plays. I have gone a few times but not as willingly as her acceptance of a baseball game.
The memorable part of the evening occurred after the game, out on the driveway in front of our house. My van had a small water leak so I called Matthew, my son and favorite mechanic, to see if he could help. He showed up after the game and as I held the flashlight, he found the problem. It was a leaky housing for the thermostat, not a major job if you know what you are doing – I don’t.
Matthew arrived at the auto parts store just as they were closing, talked his way inside and secured the necessary parts. As he worked on the van and I provided moral support, Jeremy, my oldest son, drove up. The talk quickly turned to the baseball game. Jeremy had been able to watch the game and Matthew had listened to it on the radio. We had a great time sharing about the ups and downs of the game and the joy of the final victory. We even talked about some of the strategy during the game and made suggestions on what would have worked better. You know how fans always know what the manager should have done.
It is interesting that the boys have developed a real love for the game of baseball in the past few years. We always enjoyed games together when they were young, and they both played little league for many years, but we seldom sat down and watched a game together or even talked about it after the fact. But now they keep up with the scores and are capable of talking about strategy, players, and other baseball stuff. The time spent with my sons on the driveway last night was just as good as the grand slam that ended the game earlier in the evening.
One of the best things is for a father and son to be able to share experiences in life. It is really special to enjoy the same things together. I think that is the way God must feel when His children learn to like and appreciate the things He likes. When we develop an interest in the things He is interested in, God must be pleased. It means that we are actually being made anew in His image.
I find that many Christians are more interested in hating the things God hates rather than loving the things God loves. I have a Facebook “friend” (I’ve never actually met the guy) who recently posted a series of hate-filled political rants in his page. It seemed rather odd to me since I thought he was a pastor, so I sent him a personal message and asked if he were a pastor. He responded affirmatively, proudly identifying his church and city.
Then I replied with this message – “Do your strident political opinions ever offend any folks in your community that you might be trying to reach with the Gospel?” I understand his desire to speak out against the things that might be offensive to God, but I was concerned that in doing so he was offending some of those whom God loves.
I did not receive a quick reply, but in my message box the next morning it was obvious I had struck a nerve. He wrapped himself in the clothing of Jesus and Paul, defending his stand against evil in such a way that wrong-headed folks (like me) would get the point. I applaud this young man’s willingness to fight the good fight on behalf of God, but I wonder if it is time that we spend less time and energy trying to defend God and hating evil, and more time loving God and the ones He loves.
I guess it might have been a demonstration of their love for me if Matthew and Jeremy had located someone who does not like me or has spoken unkind things about me and took them to task. But honestly, as a father, it was so much greater for them to spend some time with me, late in the evening in a dark driveway working on my van, and sharing something that is important to me. I can’t think of a better way to love God than by loving the things He loves.