There are certain times of the year when I get really nostalgic.
One of those seasons is the start of baseball. There is something about being outside and listening to the Twins game while working on a project that’s been put off all winter. Baseball isn’t a fast game; at times it's downright slow. However, when your team is down by 2, bases are loaded and your batter fouls off yet another pitch keeping the count at 3 balls, 2 strikes, I’m not walking away from the radio just then.
Baseball was a fairly big deal for me as a kid as well. Like most 10-year-old boys in my town, I played Little League. We were the Orioles, which I thought was stupid. Who’s ever been intimidated by a little orange bird? We weren’t very good as a team, probably because I was on the team. My coaches often put me on first base not because I was consistent at catching, but because I couldn’t aim my throws to save my life. I will never forget the day when four players from the Minnesota Twins came and conducted a baseball clinic for our city’s Little League program.
During the clinic, we were instructed to pair off and practice throwing. There was an odd number of boys so guess who didn’t have a partner? Me. Seeing this, one of the instructors said, “‘That’s OK, Dale, you can be my partner.’” For the rest of the clinic, any time we were to pair up, I found myself partners with Harmon Killebrew.
While I was impressed to be playing baseball with an actual Minnesota Twin, I had no idea who Harmon Killebrew was. I didn’t know that he would become one of Minnesota’s all-time favorite Twins and be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984. Not recognizing a person for who they are, or will be, can be embarrassing but not life threatening — except in one instance.
Several times in the gospels we read of people who didn’t recognize Jesus. They liked his teachings, his miracles and the authority with which he spoke. But they did not know who he was. In a conversation with his disciples, Jesus asked them, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus asked. “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” [Matthew 16:13-16 NIV]
I’ve often wondered if it was frustrating for Jesus that so few people understood who he was and why he had come. After all, without the work of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection, we would have no hope of a personal relationship with God. No Heaven to look forward to. No reason for this life.
For the past 23 years I have worked with Brainerd Area Youth for Christ. Every day we work with students who have not yet recognized Jesus for who he is. However, we use as many methods possible to reach them with a message that will equip them with hope, inspiration, purpose and peace. If you’ve recognized Jesus for who he really is, you know that he can be each of those in your life. If you haven’t, you can. Just ask him to reveal himself to you. Jesus loves to meet us right where we are.
For more information about Youth for Christ check us out at www.brainerdyfc.com. Just like in baseball, our goal is to get our kids to our heavenly home — safe!