Monday, October 23, 2023

Making a god of 100 mph Fastballs

Suggested Reading: Habakkuk 1:5-11

Back in the 90's, a movie came out called Rookie of the Year. The movie embodied the fantasy of almost every adolescent boy who loves baseball. The movie's main character, a twelve year old boy, had fallen and broken his arm playing baseball. After weeks in a cast, something had mysteriously fused in his arm, creating a catapult-type action and allowing him to throw fastballs in excess of 100 miles per hour. Shortly thereafter he was discovered by an agent, signed with a major league team and began playing baseball with the big-named stars he idolized. Of course, his sudden fame and success had unfortunate consequences as well. Before long, he began standing up his friends and forgetting to call them, getting an attitude with his mother, and developing some of the less admirable grown up habits of his teammates. Before long, this young pitcher discovered that the very thing he had been gifted with was getting him into trouble, too.

The double edged sword this young pitcher faced is something that we all deal with from time to time. Very often, the thing that can bring us the most success can also cause us the most problems. Such was the case for the Babylonians (also called the Chaldeans) in the Old Testament. God had chosen them to bring his judgment on Israel and several other nations because of their great strength and military might. But God eventually declared judgment on them through the prophet Habakkuk, saying, They are guilty; their strength is their god (Habakkuk 1:11, HCSB). The very thing which allowed God to use them eventually got them into trouble because it became too important to them.

Sometimes we take very good things and ruin them by making them to too important to us. Pastors who are very good at ministry neglect their families to continue the ministry. Fathers who work hard to provide for their families turn their jobs into idols. Mothers are so good at their jobs they neglect their families. Churches with strong music programs become focused on the music itself rather than on the worship the music should facilitate. A keen mind becomes an excuse to look down on people who seem less intelligent. Far too often, the talents God has given us get practiced and nurtured at the expense of our walk with Christ and the neglect of serving people. We must remain vigilant so that the things in our lives that have the most power, for both good and ill, are not transformed into curses by our own mismanagement and selfishness.

What talents or skills do you have? God has given you those abilities to make a difference in the world, but you must manage them wisely and maintain a proper perspective. Otherwise, the very things God gave you for God's own purposes can turn into something very ugly.

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