Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: Buried Alive
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:18b He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.
“For the watching world, we ourselves serve proof that God is alive. We form the visible shape of what he is like.” (Philip Yancey) For some that statement sends a shiver of fear up their spine. They know that they are not presenting the world with an accurate or positive picture of who God really is. Their lives are a testimony to the strength and determination of the human will rather than the power of the Holy Spirit.
In his book A Father for All Seasons, Bob Welch writes:
Last summer, my son Jason was a seventh-grader playing in a seventh/eighth-grade league. A fire-armed pitcher—more than a foot taller than my 4-foot-9 son—blazed a fastball right down the pike. Strike one. The second pitch scorched across the plate for a called strike two. The third pitch, unintentionally I’m sure, came right at Jason. He turned to avoid being hit and fell to the ground. His bat went flying. His helmet bounced off. The ball seemed to have skimmed his shoulder.
“Take your base,” said the umpire.
Standing in the third-base coach’s box, I was happy just seeing Jason alive, much less getting a free base.
“It didn’t hit me,” Jason said to the ump.
“Take your base, son,” said the ump.
Our fans were most likely thinking the same thing I was thinking: Take your base, son. You’ve been wounded, soldier; your war’s over. You’re going home …
“But honest, it didn’t hit me,” Jason pleaded.
The umpire looked at Jason and out to the infield ump, who just shrugged. “Okay,” said the ump, “the count is one-and-two.”
Should I intervene? Make him take his base? Jason was already digging in his cleats in the batter’s box. I mentally shrugged and headed back to the coach’s box.
The towering pitcher rocked and fired. A bullet right down the middle—the kind of pitch that would send the kid to the dugout. Instead, Jason ripped the ball into left-center for a stand-up double. Our crowd roared. The manager of the team in the field was standing a few feet behind me. He had no idea that the kid on second base was my son. He spit out his sunflower seeds and slowly shook his head. “Man,” he said, “you gotta love that.”
If you have any competitive bones in your body, you were begging the boy to take his base. It didn’t matter very much to you whether or not his life would be one of integrity and truth. You simply wanted the advantage of a base runner. If you had been in the same situation, you would have gone to first base.
Author and pastor Maxie Dunnam made an interesting observation. He said, We must be careful what we bury in our heart. To bury something does not mean it is dead. It may simply mean we have buried something alive that will devour and destroy us from within. Your behavior will reveal whether or not that’s true for you. Has the flesh truly died, or have you just buried it somewhere in a back corner of your life, in a room with ventilation so it can be “resurrected” when you feel the need to satisfy your own desires?
“For the watching world, we ourselves serve proof that God is alive. We form the visible shape of what he is like.” So the question of the day is – What does the world think God is like when they look at you?