Well, it's that time of year. I know it because the alerts on my smart phone keep feeding me pre-season baseball scores. Yes, it can be a very annoying but as much as I root for my team I'll have to figure our how to turn them off.
I grew up playing baseball on hot Summer days with my buddy, Shawn, who lived two doors away. During the years we spent as neighbors and best friends we'd hardly ever been found without a ball, a glove and a bat in our possession. It was actually he and his who dad who gave me my first baseball glove--one they'd found lying in the middle of an intersection while exiting a Phillies game in the city of Brotherly Love. Whoever lost that glove, I hope they know I made good use of it even into my young adult years. For a couple of seasons our parents took us on what seemed to be the possible start to an annual pilgrimage to sign up for rec baseball. I still remember the disappointment when the Boys Club didn't place my friend and I on the same team--after all, that was the whole purpose for our signing up together. It seems like yesterday but, honestly, that was a long time ago. Shawn would go on to play baseball thru high school, but I gave it up after only two years of rec ball in the local boys club league. Yet, I never lost my love for the game. It seems we all had much more time back in those days to be able to sit down on a Saturday afternoon and watch a full game.
The game's mystery and intricate details will always intrigue me. My re-attachment to the game happened a few years ago when I dropped off our oldest at the local rec department for the 2011 season "draft." While mingling with other fathers who also thought their son would someday make the "Big-Leagues," somehow or another I was duped (literally) into coaching my oldest son's team that year. That's a completely different story, but I will tell you it turned out to be a story-book season. Our team, the Blackhawks, were underdogs who would go on to beat the only undefeated team in our league to win the Championship to close the season. It wasn't because of my coaching, and in reality it wasn't because of our talent--we didn't have the best team--but we won it all because the kids played with some incredible heart. Yet as I said, that's a different story--one worth telling at another time.
I continued to coach that team for another two years, but just prior to the start of the next season I came across a deal on some batting helmets that I just couldn't pass up. After I'd made the purchase and removed the price stickers, I was reminded of a similar experience as told by Karen Morerod in an article I'd read years before in a Decision Magazine. Her purchase was a sweater, my version is based upon the purchase of the batting helmets for the team:
As I was shopping in a local athletic equipment store I came across a black/vegas gold batting helmet that was on sale. In fact, I saw two of them in our Blackhawks team colors. These would be perfect, so I figured I'd purchase the helmets. I snooped around for little while until I was able to locate all of the black/vegas gold helmets--4 in all. I inquired about the price at the front counter and asked if they'd give me an even better deal if I purchased all four together.
The store was asking $19.95 per helmet but they offered to give them to me for $10.95 a piece. When I got home, proud of my purchasing prowess, I removed the stickers to find the original price tag underneath: $29.95! I had come home with what I thought was a cheap buy, and discovered the original price was more than double. I had been oblivious to their value. Just as with the helmets, I fear we often treat the power of Jesus' blood like a "cheap purchase." God's grace, though free to us, carried a high price tag--the life of His very own Son. My hope is that we will all be more mindful of the price that was paid for us as we approach Palm Sunday and Easter. May the price paid help us to see our value in Christ's eyes.
"For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." (1 Corinthians 6:20)
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace." (Ephesians 1:7)
"...Unto Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His own blood." (Revelation 1:5)