My freshman year of high school I tried out for my high school baseball team, as I thought baseball was my best sport. I had played soccer the previous fall, making the Jr. High team as a 9th grader, and I enjoyed it. I also considered trying out for the basketball team, another sport I love, but my high school had just come off an incredibly successful season in which they went deep into the state tournament. So as a newbie (I had gone to a small Christian school for K-8th grade), I was intimidated, and didn’t try out. But baseball? I thought I was far better at baseball than I was at soccer or basketball, and I was excited for the season.
Something unexpected happened, though. I didn’t get a single hit during the week of try-outs. As you can guess, I was cut. That ended my baseball career, but not my love of the game. I suspect many of you also enjoy following baseball teams. For years Lancaster has been the home of the minor league Barnstormers, a wonderful asset to our community. I’m excited to travel to Philadelphia in a few weeks to see the Phillies play, and I’m hoping they make a playoff run. I’m also excited about a potential new opportunity to play baseball.
A few weeks ago this summer, Faith Church had a special visit from missionaries we support. They live and serve in Meco, Spain, where they told us about the baseball club that they started at their daughters’ school. When you think of Spain, you probably don’t think of baseball. You think of soccer! But Spaniards are interested in baseball, and our friends are hoping to make relational connections through sport. As our friends were telling us about the club, they invited our church family to get a group together to travel to Spain and help them run the club for a week. I thought to myself that it would be amazing to get a group from Faith Church to travel to Spain and help our missionaries do a week of baseball camp, build relationships, and perhaps share the story of Jesus. I personally would LOVE that.
On the one hand, it would be exciting to help bring baseball to Spain. We could teach the basics of baseball rules, positions on the field, hitting, fielding, pitching. But on the other hand, we would not just be helping to bring baseball to Spain, we could have the opportunity to share the story of Jesus’ love for all people in word and deed. We would be seeking to share the blessing of God to those who might not currently experience that blessing. That’s why our friends live and serve in Spain. They desire what God desires, that all people would know his love.
It is not just professional missionaries, however, that have a heart for the world. You and I can too. Better yet, I would make the case that all Christians will have a heart for the world. Why? Because God does.
What is God’s heart for the world? This coming week we conclude our series about relationships, and we’ll be talking about we can and should have a heart for the world. Isn’t the world too big, though, for us to realistically have a heart for all the people of the world? Check back on Monday as we talk about it further!