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The Parable of Tee Ball

My youngest daughter just finished her tee ball season. Let me tell you I love tee ball. Is there anything as entertaining as a bunch of four and five year olds running around like chickens with their heads cut off on the diamond? I think not. When the most common coach corrections are “don’t play in the dirt” and “NO, NO, run to that base, THAT base!” you are in for some grade A entertainment.

One of my favorite moments in tee ball is when a team is playing defense. The ball is hit, and everyone on defense, and I mean everyone, except for the one playing in the dirt, regardless of position chase after the ball. Each player abandons their base, their position, their place, to get that ball. It is nothing for three or four or the entire team to pounce on the ball, the field, and each other trying to get that ball. It reminds me of the old Bugs Bunny cartoon, where the dogs yell, “dog pile on the rabbit” as every dog pounces on Bugs trying to catch him.

Once the pile of tee ballers is formed, they wrestle and fight to be the one that emerges from the pile with the ball. The one that gets the ball stands and holds the ball high for everyone to see showing that he or she was the fastest glove on the team for that play.

After the ball is caught, you look around. No one is covering second, third, or home. The only reason the first basemen is still at first is because he or she has a dedicated coach to be a constant reminder to not go after the ball. If you know anything about ball, this method of defense is not too effective. Without your bases covered, runners could keep running and score easily.

The problem with tee ball defense is that they kids do not understand they are a team. They do not grasp that they need to work together to accomplish more on the field. The third baseman doesn’t get it that covering third when the ball his to shortstop is better for the team that going after the ball. These little tee ballers play for only themselves. I want to be the one to catch the ball! I want to hold it up! I, I, I…

This is the attitude of a lot of Christians in their faith. I read my bible. I go to church. I serve here or I serve there. I take care of my faith, and I do my part. I, I, I…

I want us to understand when we have a me first Christianity, God’s kingdom suffers. I want us to understand when we do not work together, God’s kingdom suffers. When we all want the jobs that get high praise at church, but no one wants to serve by mopping floors and washing dishes, God’s kingdom suffers. Ephesians 4:11-14 says,

“11 And He (Jesus) personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.” HCSB

That passage states we all have our positions in God’s kingdom. We each have been given a role by Jesus that is important. None are higher or lower than the other. Just like in Tee Ball covering third is just as important as catching the ball. Verse 13 says when we all play our role to the best of our ability and work together in God’s kingdom, people will grow into the maturity of “Christ’s fullness.” How amazing is that! We will become like Christ.

This will never happen if in church, in your spiritual life, in your life in general, you are just trying to catch the ball no matter what. You will miss out on your role on God’s team. That will hurt you and others.

My daughter’s tee ball team has a great excuse on why they do not understand the concept of team. They’re only four and five years old!

We in the church have one excuse for only caring our our faith. We only have one excuse for living a me first Christianity. That is our own sinful selfishness.

Let’s join God’s team. Work together. Be united in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Use the spiritual gifts and only the spiritual gifts that God has given you. Let’s not get upset because we want different gifts. Let’s unite as a team in the faith, and see the impact we can have on God’s kingdom and our community.

Amen

Preacher Jes

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