Taunt Babe Ruth in a World Series game and what do you get? His bat, pointing to the outfield in Wrigley Field, pronouncing the location of the homerun he's about to hit. Sure enough, Babe knocked the ball out for a homerun in a series the Yankees would win. The crowd, probably around 60,000 people saw the famous moment in baseball, and years later, when asked, about 400,000 people said they were there at the game to see the famous shot.
Let's take that mathematical formula to Little League (the expansion model created by me as I write this) and the notion of every child gets a trophy. Who wins in Little League? Is it the team that comes in first or is it the team that struggles through the year, whose coaches were enthusiastic and kept the boys engaged in the game despite long odds, yet in the end, even in defeat, learned the joys of playing and playing the game of baseball specifically? . As many opposed to the idea of "each child gets a trophy" speak, they speak in terms of their own childhood in which they only got a trophy for winning. As I hear them, I am reminded of the number of people who claim to have seen the homerun Ruth hit, because they all claim to have been winners and on winning teams. I've yet to hear any of them say, "I was on a team that stunk and we didn't get a trophy." Mathematically, someone had to come in last, but I've yet to hear that claim in a substantive discussion on the subject.
Set aside the debate for a moment and think of this. How will we respond when we learn that the reward of salvation is for everyone, regardless of any measure of faith we place here on earth? Christ explains this in Matthew 20 when he shares a parable about laborers in a vineyard. Those who came early in the morning to work are paid the same as those who were hired later in the day. Christ explains that the master of the vineyard, Christ, says to the workers who complain, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? So, the last will be first and the first will be last."
We receive grace with a measure of humility, gaining salvation for absolutely nothing we do. As we bow before Christ, we humbly receive the grace he gives us, and we acknowledge this grace is open to all, regardless of when they received it, how much work they did on Christ's behalf in our eyes, or how hard they played on the field of play called life. In other words, salvation is contrary to everything we understand in our earthly lives.
We give thanks for the grace Christ provides and we are also thankful that we receive this grace freely and not because of our own works.
Hope Men's Ministry