Devotional: October 7th
For some time now my youngest son has treated me to a day at the old ballpark as a birthday present. Traditionally, it has been a trip to Cincinnati to watch the Reds. However, since the advent of Great American Ballpark, we had not been to Cincinnati for a baseball game. In fact, prior to last evening, I had not seen the new ballpark or the Reds since the old field was razed. I was at Cinergy/Riverfront Stadium the night that the Reds played the Cardinals when the whole of Major League Baseball was to vote on going out on strike. Had they voted to strike, I would have been present for the last game played at the old stadium. Gratefully, they voted to play ball.
But with the new ballpark firmly in place on Cincy's Riverfront I am shocked to admit that I have actually been to Cleveland and seen my beloved Cleveland Browns play an exhibition football game before having gone to the new ballpark for a baseball game. 2003 was the trip to Cleveland and last year was a year of adjustments and tight schedules for all of us. This year was the first opportunity; and it was great. There's something about a father and son being together at a baseball game. It's American.
Funny thing is, in all the years that I've been going to Major League Baseball games, specifically the Reds, I have never brought home one of those involuntary souvenirs that seem to get randomly distributed at baseball games. I have never gotten a foul ball. I have sat in locations that would seemingly encourage my chances but have sat and watched as balls landed beyond me, in front of me and behind me; none really getting close. Last night my son told me that we were sitting in "foul ball central." And we were. We had seats down the third base line, three rows up just down from the Cardinals dugout (seems like every time we're there it's to watch the Cardinals...and a loss).
First batter up was the shortstop for the Cards, righthanded hitting David Eckstein. On the second pitch he gets in front of the ball and pulls a line drive right at us. My son, Sean, and I are getting excited as we see it start to hook. To our dismay, it lands about six seats to our right one row back and the man who stuck his arm out and stopped it got it. The rest of the night only a couple of foul balls were even sent our way and those were well beyond us on down the line. We watched the game as the Reds lost 5 to 1. We had no souvenir but we had been to the ballpark together, and it was great.
From my time in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ I have no souvenirs sitting in glass cases. I have been to some of the hallowed grounds of our movement having preached at a youth rally at the old Cane Ridge Meeting House near Paris, Kentucky, and attended services at both Southland Christian Church and Southeast Christian Church, the first in Lexington and the latter in Louisville. The ministry isn't about venues or souvenirs. It's about people.
I have witnessed the rebirth of my sister's four boys having baptized each of them and also done the same with my own children. I have sat at the bedside of numerous saints whose lives were flowing from them. It's not about where you've been or what you've done. Ministry never is. It's all about who you've blessed. That's the theme of Matthew 25:31-46. My son blessed me last night with a ballgame. I blessed him with the gospel some twenty years ago. Who have you blessed?
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