For many weeks of the year, we don’t face endless hours available to read, complete DIY projects, or attend events around town. No, we join myriads of other parents and grandparents at games of some sort. Baseball, soccer, and many other group or individual competitive activities can soon fill the calendar. Free to attend and hugs from grandkids add extra benefits.
Truth be told, attending these games can be enjoyable and cheap entertainment. For example, watching the littlest players learn to play soccer resembles a herd of kids from both teams following the ball. Some score in the opposing team’s net, run the bases in reverse order, or simply choose to interact with nature instead. The joy of playing is obvious, even though some players are easily distracted or confused. When kids transition from t-ball to baseball or softball, they gain skills on the way through machine or coach pitch versions.Early on, they learn the basics of the sport and gradually add knowledge of the rules and improve their skills. Eventually, the instructions and drills that didn’t make sense eventually do.
As an attendee, I usually bring a folding chair because the availability of bleachers is on a first-come, first-served basis. Chairs are more comfortable anyway – can I get an “amen?” However, I noticed that nobody wusedthe bleachers at one particular game last summer. Seeing a sign, one reason became clearer.
The sign looked like it had been there for a while. Had they repaired the bleachers earlier and simply forgotten to come back and remove the sign originally intended as a warning? Or, was it earlier reserved for team pictures? Currently, these “instructions” were confusing. There was no apparent reason we could not use the bleachers for their intended reason. Yet, the sign worked – no one sat there. The message was clear; it just made little sense.
It’s probably safe to assume everyone has tried to follow confusing instructions. Assembling purchases can be an interesting experience. Perhaps the directions originated in a language you don’t read or understand. Finding your dialect among the options could precede wondering if something got lost in the translation. You re-read, hoping that the pages were stuck together or that you simply overlooked a step. I won’t even go into the difficulties of following pictures-only guidance. I’m a visual learner, and it sometimes causes me to scratch my head when the steps or items pictured don’t match. Who hasn’t tried to assemble something and wished they HAD paid for someone to do it for them?
Sometimes the use is temporary (like the bleacher sign?); more often, the guidelines, and instructions exist for a reason. Coaches and umpires use the rules to inject fairness and standardization. For the youngest players, grace is valuable as the coaches explain which net to aim for or help them run the bases in the correct order. Eventually, the rules and reasons become knowledge skillfully used as the player transitions from novice to athlete.
So too, our Christian walk as we become Christlike. The Bible can seem like a big book of rules that don’t make sense. Some are hard concepts, such as forgiveness, which seem strange in a world of individuals who would rather seek revenge. We are told to be generous with our money and possessions, pray for and serve our enemies, honor those in authority over us, seek the good of others and die to our selfish desires. These and others, on the surface, do not make sense. To the human mind, they don’t. However, we have a coach/teacher in the Holy Spirit who takes us from our early steps (sometimes in the wrong direction) and guides us in learning and living our Christian walk. Eventually, we discover that these rules are for our benefit, however challenging it is to follow through. Forgiveness does NOT mean that the offense was OK, but it frees us from the harm we incur from unforgiveness and bitterness. Serving, respecting, and loving others can break down many walls that divide people. Relationships can be restored if we learn to accept others as individuals worthy of respect and dignity, even if we disagree over issues.
The early church learned and lived the ideals taught by Jesus. Their backgrounds were diverse racially, politically, and culturally – yet they yielded these to celebrate their common unity in Jesus. They lived those values through hospitality, forgiveness, and love for others. They learned new “rules” of community and lived out the transition to Christlikeness.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.Col 3:5-17, ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The instructions to reject earthly influences and actively pursue Jesus’ teachings didn’t make sense to many. But, those who heeded the call to follow Christ experienced a transformed life full of joy and peace. And that…makes sense to pursue.
2 thoughts on “This Doesn’t Make Sense”
Great reflection Colleen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have always tried to live my life / work and personal to honor God. Col. 3 23-24
Having been your employee, you succeeded. I learned a great deal more than good work ethics from you as you sought to follow God. Blessed you were my boss!