You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. – Jim Bouton
I’ve been waiting for yesterday for a long time. Yesterday, September 11, 2015 I got to take Evan to his first Rangers Baseball Game. Lolly (Lauren/Grandma) and Mommy (our daughter, Rosalyn) completed our little family team. The weather dipped into the 80’s, which qualifies as a norther in Dallas in early September! If you click on this link (Evan’s First Rangers Game!), you’ll see our happy dance at the end of the game! It was a little iffy taking a 2 1/2 year-old to the game, but I thought, “We’ll chance it and see what happens.”
An older gentleman sitting behind me noticed I was teaching Evan to pound my old leather baseball glove – the one I had played with when I was 12-going-on-Bobby Richardson. I had my nose buried deep in the pocket breathing in the memories of a thousand line drives – when I heard, “Sir? Excuse me?” I looked behind me and this white-haired fellow asked, “I was just wondering how old that glove of yours is?” I had to think for a minute. Then it hit me. “Over 50 years,” I said.
50 years. Goodness.
My glove isn’t very big. But it has been big in my life. I was in the gospel of Luke this morning, reading one of those passages you’ve all read a thousand times: the parable of the mustard seed growing rapidly into a large “tree” in which birds of the air alight. Nobody, looking at a not-so-big mustard seed, could predict what it would become – a 12-foot tall plant! The Apostle Paul makes a similar point in 1 Corinthians 15:37, 40 where he contrasts our earthly bodies with the resurrection bodies to come:
And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare seed—perhaps of wheat or something else… And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. The glory of the heavenly body is one sort and the earthly another. (NET)
The kingdom of God had humble beginnings. Likewise, we share the imposed humility of being human, which is part of Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 15. And nobody living in Luke’s day – decades after the death of Jesus and the birth of the church – could have imagined the exponential growth of the church as an expression of God’s kingdom over the course of those years.
I thought of Eliot’s Four Quartets, “East Coker” in particular –
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility. Humility is endless. – T. S. Eliot
As I held Evan, I drank in the coolness of the evening, the smell of the green diamond, and felt the torn leather texture of my old baseball glove. I thanked Jesus for His kindness. For His humility in life and death (Philippians 2). For His resurrection, and for the gift of eternal life.
Evan isn’t very big. But he’s big in my life. I wonder at the potential, the kingdom-life that is bound up in his heart. I’ll coach him in baseball. I’ll coach him in life. And one of these days, a few years down the line, I’ll give him my glove.
And we’ll see what happens.