A sparkling stadium floods with energetic chaos. They surge in from all directions, hopes high, clad in custom apparel; stripes of blue and gold painted onto their skin. Some will scream themselves silent urging their team to victory.
Looking out over 20,000 faces propels my adrenaline to an exhilarating level. Heart pounding hard,
I take three small steps.
My black high heels sink into the baseline dirt as I search for other stripes. Red and white with stars on navy blue, it waves unfurled and glorious. Time slows as the flag fills my vision. Uttering a prayer that I don't twist an ankle and regret the impractical fashion I chose for this monumental moment, I wait for my cue. My name echoes loud in the huge head set I was given to wear - turning a great hair day into a mediocre one. No matter. Hand over heart, pride swells as my voice delivers a beautiful anthem I’d sung dozens of times before in much smaller spaces. Soaring on the glorious wings of music, I land 89 seconds later on 'the home of the brave', pointing upward to acknowledge The Giver. Thunderous applause erupts, the first pitch is thrown, and baseball madness begins.
I consider how surreal this is, as I wind my way through the masses to my husband. He's found our seats, a stone's throw away from home plate, and a world away from our usual nosebleed section - gifted by the Brewers in exchange for the anthem. My grinning guy compliments a job well done, remarking how happy he is to benefit from my talents. Settling in, I glance around again at this collective blur of bodies - unique individuals with families and fears, histories and hurts, talents and triumphs.
Divine thoughts strike me harder than a swinging bat strikes a fastball.
What percentage of this mob of souls nearby are aware that the King of the Universe, who spoke them into existence, wrapped Himself in flesh to be a sin-offering in their place, fix their biggest problem, and supply their greatest need? "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?" (Romans 10:14 -15 ESV)
If Jesus returned right now, how many here, in this vast enclosure of energetic expectation, would be ready to meet Him or confident to stand before Him for judgment? If something disastrous occurred that ended all our lives before we reached the next inning, how many are not trusting Christ and headed for an eternity apart from Him?
I realize this thinking is pretty deep (and kind of dark) especially for a ball game. Most would advise me to clear my mind, munch on cracker jack, and enjoy the event - and I will. But honestly, I don't want these sacred thoughts to stop. I believe the Spirit of the Living God plants them there, shifting our minds to things above, stirring our words for spiritual conversations, and moving our talents towards the mission of the kingdom. I Peter 3:15 (NIV) "In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
I want to be prepared. God help me speak and act boldly. Lord, let me shine Your light wherever I am.
The volume in the arena rises a notch as the runner on third sets his sights on home. The pitcher toes the rubber, glances to his right, sees no movement, then addresses the batter. With daring, the runner takes three small steps. The anticipation of a suicide squeeze causes a frenzy of counsel to resound from many voices. Shared enthusiasm can be intoxicating.
Imagine the impact of Christ followers everywhere celebrating, texting, and posting about sins forgiven and an empty tomb like they do about their boy in blue blasting a homer! What a difference could be made if my own witness heralded half of this passion. Did the joy of mercy, hope, and salvation ever have to fade? "One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. (Psalm 145:4 - ESV)
Like 'the butterfly effect'
one contagious human impacting a few lives in their circles
would impact a few lives in their circles
who would impact a few more in their circles - and so on -
until millions are touched.
Every one of the thousands in this sea of humans that surround me has been rescued. Some may not believe it. Some don't know it. Some have never heard it. I've have been invited, called, and empowered to be messengers of that marvelous truth! "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you...”' (Matthew 28:19 -20 ESV) "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 - ESV)
Today I took three small steps and a little witness happened on a baseball field to a stadium audience.
Tomorrow, I may take more small steps of prayer, practice or preparation. Meaningful witness could happen through a phone call, a warm chat with a neighbor, or a helpful act to a lonely stranger.
However it looks, I'm trusting God - and stepping out.
Three Small Step Application: 1) PRAY over the referenced passages. Ask the Lord for willingness, boldness, and wisdom to recognize opportunities when they're presented. 2) PREPARE your faith story. Consider writing a short paragraph about who Jesus is to you and the hope of salvation. Carry it in your purse or memorize it, so you’re ready when the time comes. 3) PRACTICE speaking a basic John 3:16 law / gospel message. Say it to yourself in a mirror. Try it on a family member. Experiment with phrases natural for you - that turn a general conversation about the weather, job, or illness towards something spiritual.