What Does it Cost You?
I cannot believe that it is November! We have already completed our second year of having a baseball league. I feel this year was better than the last, but there are areas I feel we can improve and become more effective. I am excited about the upcoming year and what God will do as there finally seems to be more people looking and seeking for ways to be involved. We also finally have found a Nicaraguan man to come along side of me who shares the same vision for the ministry. It is exciting to look ahead because the ending of the year seemed to have brought more frustration than positive growth. One of the things that became frustrating for me, beginning in August or so, was how many kids were not wanting to go to their practices. In my mind I look at it and think, “You go to school for maybe four hours a day, you do not have much homework, you do not have any sort of other extracurricular activities or electronics to distract you, so what is the problem.” In the States there seems to be a lot of “more fun” options for kids to participate in than going to a baseball practice. You have all sorts of video games, internet, TV, drones, you may have a pool close by, etc. Here there are not many options and they have a lot more free time on their hands because their school/extracurricular commitments are nowhere near as much. Yet, two things that our kids love to do is to play marbles and play a game where they spin a top like thing by slinging it with a long string. I could not count how many times I would ask where a kid was when we were about to start practice and someone would tell me, “He’s playing marbles (or spinning tops)”. One day when I had all my team together I sat them down and had a little conversation with them. I asked them how could they improve their life by playing those games. Are there professional leagues for these games? Can people make money by playing them, I asked. I went on to express how big of an opportunity they have before them. There are no kids in Chichigalpa who get to play baseball year around, the city doesn’t even have a baseball league anymore. As of this year our league is the only one that exists. I went on to tell them how there probably are not that many kids in all of Nicaragua who receive two practices and play a game each week. Truthfully, when I really think about it, that number very well could only be in the hundreds. I was trying to get them to understand if they continue like this with only practicing twice a week for the next 8 or so years they are going to be so far advanced than so many other kids that who knows what could happen. I found myself having that talk with multiple kids from different communities over the following weeks who had not been faithful to the practices, and I always ended up saying a phrase multiple times during the conversation “What does it cost you?”. What does four hours a week cost you. There are one hundred and sixty-eight hours in a week. All we ask is that you show up to two practices for two hours during the week. That is nothing. It doesn’t cost you anything I would tell them.
One of, if not the biggest, regrets in my life is the fact that I hardly ever practiced basketball on my own. There are many times when I wonder what would have happened or how good I could have been if I would have just practiced one hour a day. I look back now and wonder what in the world I did with all my time. An hour is absolutely nothing, but it would have made an enormous difference in my ability. But that is the thing about life, you cannot change your past but rather only the present and the future. I recently have been listening to Francis Chan who is a famous author and was the lead pastor at a mega church in California where a few years ago he stepped down after being convicted by the Word of how a church should look and operate. I came across this short five-minute clip that convicted me and made me think of what I was telling my kids when I asked, “What does it cost you?” Please take the next five minutes to watch the video.
Pretty convicting huh? One thing he said that stuck with me was, “Do you think anyone in heaven looks back at something they sacrificed and says, ‘Oh, why did I give that up!’” I had a buddy in high school and we were student aids for the athletic director the last period of the day for two years. Almost every day I would ask him what he was doing after school or on the weekend and his answer ALWAYS was that he was going to be playing or practicing baseball. This past summer that same guy signed the most lucrative contract in San Diego Padres baseball history at 6 years 83 million dollars. I am sure if you asked him was all that time practicing baseball worth the sacrifice and without a doubt his answer would probably be a resounding yes. We only have one life to live. Are the ways we are investing our time, our money, our life, on earthly things that come and go? Or are we investing it in eternal things?
What would it cost us?
Would it be worth it?
What kind of impact could we have if we constantly asked God for an eternal mindset instead of an earthly one? Can you imagine what would happen if we as a church body were bold enough that instead of asking and seeking after “material blessings” (which are not promised in the Scriptures) to instead ask God to give us an eternal mindset? That we see people as God sees them, a soul worth dying for (Romans 5:6-8). That we see our resources/possessions as a means to care and provide for those in need (Acts 2:44-45). That we see our lives as not our own (1 Cor 6:19-20) but rather to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). The catch 22 is that you would see the most blessed group of people. For in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 it says that one who sows generously will also reap generously, but we would be so focused on the Kingdom that when the blessings would come about we would be solely focused on how to sow more. Can you imagine the impact? I encourage you to start small and ask God how to give of yourself today; after all what would it cost you?