Bottom of the 9th - Love God More
Do You Love God More?
By Tom Walters
The high school baseball season in Colorado has come to an end and I want to congratulate all participants. The school year has also come to an end. Graduation season is almost complete. I know that in my world, add work, and travel baseball, and tournaments, and it's easy to jump back into the rat race. Maybe it's time to slow down!
We had a guest pastor at church last weekend. George Sisneros told of a conversation that he had with God in his basement a few years ago. He wasn't sure why the basement, or why after the Denver Broncos had lost, but he was crystal clear about God's message. God asked "George, do you love me?" George answered, "Yes God, I love you." Then God asked, "George, do you love me more than your wife?" George struggled with that one.
"God was asking me about my wife, the woman I love most of anyone on earth," George said. Then God asked George about his children. God asked "George do you love me more than your children?" George recounted with deep emotion that God was asking George about his own flesh and blood, his children. Did he love God more than his own children? Before he could answer, God asked George, "Do you love me more than the Broncos?"
When God talks, people listen! What would you say to those questions? Substitute husband for wife, substitute parents for children, substitute Rockies or Pirates or Red Sox for Broncos. Do you love God more? What does that look like? George said he spent lots of time trying to answer God's questions honestly. George found his answers in scripture and challenged us to look at our lives, and our love of God.
Matthew was a Jewish tax collector who became one of Jesus' disciples. Matthew 22:36-40 reads:
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."
"This is the first and great commandment."
"And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"
"All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."
What would it be like to love God like baseball? How about more than baseball? More than your husband or wife, more than your parents or your children? How about with all of your heart, all of your soul and all of your mind?
The second part of the great commandment in the law speaks of our neighbor. Who is our neighbor? Is it the people who live next door or up the road from us? Jesus used the story of the Good Samaritan to identify our neighbor. In Luke 10:29-37, a Jewish traveler is beaten robbed and left half dead on the road. First a priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoid the man. Finally, a Samaritan comes by. Samaritans and Jews generally despise each other, but the Samaritan helps the injured man. To the expert in religious law, the wounded man was a subject to discuss. To the bandits, the wounded man was someone to exploit. To the innkeeper the wounded man was a customer to serve for a fee. To the Samaritan, the wounded man was a human being worth being cared for and loved. But to Jesus, all of them and all of us were worth dying for! I hadn't thought of it this way, but my neighbor is anyone who God puts in my path! Lord let me see my neighbor through your eyes!
After God helped George identify the people he may have loved more than God himself George asked himself what else could be in the way of living for God. What are the other things with which we clutter our lives? Do I love my car, my lifestyle, my freedom, my bank account, my job more than God?
I left church feeling I was at a crossroads. What is standing in the way of being on FIRE for God? What is standing in the way of every breath I breathe being for God?
As baseball players, coaches, parents, umpires, and fans, this great game is a microcosm of God's magnificent creation. Play for Him! Play to show appreciation for his death for our sins, his resurrection and promise of eternity. Play so the other team knows He lives in you. Play for Him! Live for Him! Love Him and your teammates and coaches and parents and fans and umpires, like yourself.
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:15