For Love of the Game - Does God Care?
by Keith Wahl
The feedback from our "At the Movies" series and the coinciding CG Podcast has led us on a path to continue this exploration of the spiritual lessons we can learn from our favorite baseball movies. Enjoy this month's focus on For Love of the Game!
As Billy Chapel prepares to pitch the bottom of the ninth, he says a little prayer. Billy explains that he promised God that he would never involve Him in something as silly as a baseball game, and asks God to let the pain in his arm go away for ten minutes as he finishes the game.
While I appreciate Billy's heart, he's living by a false theology and I don't think he's alone. Let's dive into this idea. What does God care about? Do we jump to our own judgements about what is important and miss real intimacy with the Father through Christ and the holy Spirit?
According to Eugene Peterson's translation of the Bible, The Message, Jesus says this in Luke 12:6-7:
“What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.
Did you catch it? God pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail. God cares about us and every detail of our lives. If we care about it, it stands to reason that God cares about it. I wish I could take a mound visit to Billy Chapel in that moment just to tell him that God does care about him and that moment where he's about to experience perfection in his last game!
But, like I said, Billy's not alone in this. We all tend towards self-reliance instead of tapping into the power of the Resurrection to fuel our performance. At one point in the movie, Billy's on-again, off-again girlfriend says, "You don't need me. You can win or lose the game all by yourself." Wouldn't it be heartbreaking to picture God in Heaven waiting to bestow all of His gifts upon us but instead said that same thing to us? "You don't really need me. You're going to choose to do this on your own anyway." Ouch.
The difference is subtle and intentional. It's the difference between saying, "Thank you, God, for my gifts, the gifts you gave me," and instead saying, "Thank you, God, for Jesus, for exhibiting power over death so I might live." We have to live in and acknowledge the level of care God provided us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to save all of us. Yes, He cares! He cares so much that in the midst of this plan that through Christ's death He gave is the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, that is available to all of us, all of the time. There is nothing so trivial that God doesn't care about it. If it matters to us and our spirit, then it matters to Him.
Even a silly baseball game.