Sunday, October 9, 2016

Devotion 10.10.16

(Written in the absence of knowledge of the outcome of the Texas game tonight)

I don't dislike the Texas Rangers.  As I've said before, I've followed them since their inception after moving from Washington in the early 1970's.  And like the Astros, both teams delivered on disappointment.  We baseball fans in the state of Texas had two losers annually (or perennial losers I believe is how sports' writers say it...and I'm not a sports' writer).  By the 1990's, both teams began a consistent winning program, and by the 2000's, we had three World Series' appearances, one by Houston and two by Texas.  Then MLB put us together in the same division to create a "rivalry."  That said, I've not pulled against the Rangers, I just haven't pulled for them, until they play Toronto.

Toronto's bat tossing obnoxious form of play last year led to a formal punch to the face that was a shot heard 'round the world in the last game between the two teams in the regular season this year.  The beer tossing fans in Toronto (one at a baby last year and one at a player this year) probably threw beers in the bar at one another when that hook caught the jaw of Bautista.  That's a true rivalry.

Rivalries are healthy in many instances with gentle teasing and kidding occurring between the competitors (players and fans alike).  We identify with our team and we know them by their literal colors and MLB apparel.  Rivalries can get ugly too and result in brawls and arrests. 

Take that idea to faith.  As Christians, we are called to tell the world about the gospel of Christ.  Yet, as Christians, we have obstacles that keep us from doing that.  While we know we are supposed to tell the truth in love to the non-believer, the command to do so can be ignored for many reasons.  The non-believer comes in many shapes and sizes, yet like our rivals in sports, some are more apparent than others.  Did I talk to the man about faith and introduce him to Christ?  No, he had a turban on his head, was dark-skinned, spoke with an accent that led me to believe he was an Arab or Persian, probably a Muslim.  I turned and kept going.  I didn't want to offend, I felt resentment, or I was intimidated.  That testimony can be prevented by less obvious reasons as well when the opportunity to witness makes itself available.

Yesterday in Bible Study, we read the account in John as Christ goes to the well of Jacob in chapter four and asks a Samaritan woman for a drink.  That act crossed cultural and religious boundaries between Jews and Samaritans, yet we see Christ take an innocuous request for the most part, a drink of water, and make it into testimony about himself and offers his redeeming grace, "never be thirsty again, and become a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (4:14)  Our savior leads by example, showing us that he will break through the barriers that have been erected to take his message to the lost.  So, too, for us. 

Pray that we overcome our own inhibitions and witness when the opportunity presents itself.  Pray that we work to create those opportunities asking for God's Spirit to provide us with the words necessary to reach the non-believer.  Pray that God place those opportunities in front of us and that we overcome those obstacles that keep us from being witnesses.

Hope Men's Ministry

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